This week in the news there was a story about a girl in Oklahoma that did not receive her diploma when she should have. That isn’t all that uncommon. The Department of Education says that the dropout rate in the United States as of 2010 is at 7.4%. What that report fails to mention is that although many of the children graduate, less than 80% do so when they are scheduled to. That means tax payers are paying for extra years of education for more than 20% of ALL children that attend and graduate public schools.
But this story from Oklahoma was not about a girl that did poorly on her academics or failed a “test”. It was not about a girl that chronically missed days or committed a heinous crime. As a matter of fact, the girl in question was Valedictorian for her class and held a 4.0 grade average. In the entirety of her education, she had never made a B. And while she will be attending college this fall, she will do so without an official diploma.
Well, it seems the girl said “hell” during her graduation speech. This was an offensive word, although she was quoting a lame movie, and the principal has decided to blackmail the girl. Blackmail? Oh, yes. See, she completed all the requirements that guarantee she gets the diploma, but this power wielding administrator has decided he will hold onto it until the young women crawls to his feet, kisses his big toe, begs forgiveness and writes an apology in her own blood.
I am over-dramatizing to make my point, but really, I’m not. See, I think this man is on a power-trip and definitely needs to be taken down a notch or two. He didn’t discipline her at the time of the “cussing”. No, he waited for months, let the whole summer pass and made it to where she had to come to his office to get her diploma. Isn’t he such a clever little tyrant? At that time he told her he had it but there was a problem. If the girl had been hateful in her use of the word, I might understand punishment being doled out at the time of the incident. But it wasn’t and the man has no legal grounds with which to stand on when it comes to holding her diploma.
The girl, good on her, refuses to kowtow to his demands and I actually respect her for it. Because honestly, walk down any school hallway in this country during class change, any grocery aisle during a busy time, turn on any tv and scan the channels and I guarantee you WILL hear any number of profanities that make this girl’s ode to Twilight seem like the innocent silliness it was meant to be. Her father summed it up pretty well actually when he said he was a veteran and could see no point in men and women risking their lives to insure our rights if we weren’t willing to stand our ground and protect them here at home. Then again when the girl was asked if she would apologize, she said no because it would be a lie and that would be a sin. Hmm…17 year old has more common sense than most people twice her age.
What would you do if your child let slip the H-E- double L? What would you do if your child was in this exact same predicament? Would you make her apologize or would you stand with her and tell the principal thanks but no thanks?
Seems to me, we need a few million more girls like this. You know…free-thinking-4.0 ers and a few less narrow-minded-tyrant-principals in this country. Then, maybe children would graduate in the allotted time and save a few taxpayer dollars.