In the rigid pecking order of class, lower class girls don’t date senior boys, particularly the local football hero, who should have been dating a cheerleader of the American myth and code. But basic biology often overcomes social bounds, and when Phoebe Prince began hanging with the backfield, the clique began claiming she was sleeping with him and maybe the rest of the team. It was right out of the popular teen movies of mean girl bimboism, but this was real.
They taunted her loudly at school. They followed her home after class, calling her a slut and an Irish whore. They spit and threw sodas at her the last time they saw her. Phoebe Prince went home, tied a noose and hanged herself. Half a century ago the film “Blackboard Jungle” tried to explain the rising trend of juvenile delinquency in the inner city, but failed to find any answers. The film portrayed the pack mentality of he gangs and the rise of leaders by violent natural selection. The toughest won, gaining the girl and the followers to form a subculture outside society’s constraints.
Kids today accept this violence-based social organization as normal, and their parents, who were picked on or bullied others in their own academic years, pass it off as teen angst while perpetuating the behavior, generation after generation. Aside from their demonstrated failure as an institution of education, we must at some point recognize the role of our schools themselves in the disasters of modern American life. Incarcerating children in “concentration campuses” for a decade and a half is analogous sending them to jail where the inmates dictate the social order. Boys are encouraged to fight, on the sports field or after class for reputation. Girls group up with their peers, as signaled by fashion. One high school in Reno had fights between Kalvin Klein aficionados and the Jordache chicks over whose low riders were the hottest. In this, the 21st century, education is much more than locking down the little savages to relieve the parents of the responsibility for child rearing. The classroom, overcrowded, uncontrollable and filled with hormonal distractions, is no fit place for learning. Between the Internet, video history and interactive scholarship by satellite, there is no excuse for subjecting our kids to cultural destruction at the hands of self-selected bullies and teen torture. For your children’s sake, bring them home. Teach them the values of civilized behavior. Homeschool them and break the cycle of bullying and victimization that has become the model for our nation.
The news reports say that the vicious abuse of a teen girl “far exceeded the usual high school ‘hazing.’ ”
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.