I’ll assume that you’re aware of the intoxicated students at last Friday’s CdM/NHHS football game.

Much of Southern California is aware of it, too. The story was on the front page of the Orange County Register, and is the featured story on the paper’s home page. I did not see the story on the home page of the Los Angeles Times.

I also heard the story last night on KNX 1070 radio at 6 p.m. On that radio interview and in the Register story, the explanation for canceling the homecoming festivities was delivered by the school principal, Kathy Scott.

I wondered, as I have so many times, where the superintendent was in all of this. Perhaps he was at another deposition in the case charging him with creating a hostile working environment, or perhaps he was traveling back to his home in Long Beach and was unavailable when KNX called.

Eh, I don’t think so. I’m guessing that he is following his pattern of past behavior and delegating the messaging to underlings instead of taking charge and being the rock during tough times. But he doesn’t do that. The closest he has come was an appearance at a June meeting at Cal El to get input and hear complaints over the transfer of the school’s beloved principal.

But this is about Corona del Mar High School, not Cal El in Costa Mesa.

The Daily Pilot’s online story is followed by 29 comments, the most I have seen for a school issue in a very long time. One of the comments is by Jane Garland, an ex-district employee who quit over issues surrounding the cheating scandal at CdM.

Garland wrote, “The responsible students [responsible for the rowdiness] are most likely what the district refers to as “high profile” meaning influential and/or wealthy. It is so much easier to punish everyone if you do not want to upset the big spenders.”

And… “Before [the students in the cheating scandal] were punished, I was asked by superintendent Navarro the all important question, are they ‘high profile’ or on the football team.”

If Garland is correct, it means that there are at least two sets of rules for students who break the rules.

I’m past the point where deciding the appropriate punishment is the topic. What we need to discuss is why these big incidents keep happening at Corona del Mar High and why the superintendent has not taken the lead in ending the string of controversies there. Scott believes there is a “disconnect within our parent community where a pervasive culture exists that allows or tolerates their children to bend or break the law and violate district policies.”

Eh, I don’t think so, not in cases like this. I think that any parent who knows his or her kid was involved in the rowdiness is outraged and saddened. I don’t believe for a moment that any parent there tolerates the type of behavior exhibited last Friday.

But blaming parents is convenient. A blanket discipline decision is convenient, too. Instead of getting our hands dirty to identify the kids who were out of line, let’s just punish all of them and go home.

Scott is in a tough position. On the one hand, I admire and appreciate that she put a stake in the ground with the parents of the students, even though I disagree with her premise. At least she spoke up. But it must be tough for her to realize that she is going it alone; that her boss does not have her back.

And what does the superintendent think of all this? As usual, he’s not talking.

Steve Smith

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