It’s been an interesting week with the suspension of one man-child from school! No doubt you will be just as shocked as I was when I first heard, but the circumstances themselves are cause for interesting discussion and reflection.
I was more than a little shocked to find out he was suspended one morning, when I routinely asked why he wasn’t out of bed getting ready for school. That was when Father of a Man-Child informed me he had been suspended and wouldn’t be attending school that day. You can imagine my response, which went something like this:
“WHAT! What do you mean he’s been suspended? What for? Why didn’t you tell me yesterday? Don’t you know they invented mobile phones so husbands can call wives in an emergency?”
So you may ask, what was he suspended for exactly? Well as it turns out it was over racist comments he made on the football field in a recent game. And as the incident was reported, the school moved very swiftly to act.
But first some context, which sheds some further light on the incident. During the game, an opposition player apparently hit an already seriously injured player on the field, in an entirely unprovoked attack. This was witnessed by the team, including my son, who were all pretty angry at his action. As it transpires my son was manning this very player on the field, hence the heated exchange that followed, with my son throwing some choice racist remarks at the opposing player.
The incident was subsequently reported to the umpire, and we assume by the opposition team via more formal channels, which left my son’s school with no choice than to act. He will miss the school football game this weekend (which definitely hurts) and was also suspended from school for one day (you can’t tell me that hurts any kid). There were appointments with the Vice-Principal for my son, and with the Principal for him and my husband (what a lovely way to meet the head of the school!!). Whilst I think the school suspension is a little extreme, I have to say that I applaud the school’s zero tolerance on racial vilification. The fact is, it needs to be nipped in the bud in schools, before it escalates to other football or sporting fields and into other more senior codes. One wonders if all schools abide by similar codes – you would hope so! Although based on the behaviour of AFL players in recent years (just to mention one code), it’s probably not yet common practice, or still early days in the education process.
So what did the man-child make of it? He learned a valuable lesson about racism, even if he didn’t think what he said was particularly racist (trust me it was). And he learned that the best response is absolute honesty and copping the punishment on the chin. So the matter is closed – no more will be heard about it from the school, and we all move on, with yet another life lesson for our boys.
What do you think? Did the punishment fit the crime? Or was it too extreme?
We’ve had issues with the school before – but it was the other man-child: Trouble on school camp!
Interesting. It got me thinking where and when racism starts in people. My young daughter is not racist. She is now attending an international school, but even back in Australia, was aware of people with different skin color to hers, but certainly not in a racist way. So when does a person become aware of the differences in a negative way? However to answer your question, I think the school did the right thing. Racism is ugly we have to always try to stop it. Good on your son and his team for sticking up for their mate. That should be applauded and I think that letting the matter drop after the punishment is served is also a good thing. That’s my 2 cents worth 🙂
Thanks Fiona. Good questions you raise. I presume any racist views over time are shaped by either their parents, or the media, or broader society. Did we teach our son the terms he used? Definitely not! But would he have heard them in the media? Yes. In the playground? Probably! Ironically tonight a young women was removed from the MCG for racial remarks to Sydney’s Adam Goode. Zero tolerance – the only solution we all agree with.
Hope you are enjoying Vienna. Love the blog. 🙂