You know the story: Rowdy, apparently intoxicated kids at the CdM-NHHS game exhibit “deplorable” behavior and there’s a lot of outrage.

Outrage, yes. But it has been over a week now and we have not received any news of the disciplinary action taken against the bulk of the students. Instead we get a commentary in the Daily Pilot by CdM assistant principal Daniel Patterson.

Patterson wrote a thoughtful column and I believe he is sincere in his belief that the actions taken by the school administration are in the best interests of the students. In his column, Patterson mentioned:

  • Cancellation of homecoming festivities
  • “Cutting edge interventions and support”

So, that’s it? The out-of-control behavior by a large number of students that made the radio and TV news is met with the cancellation of a pep rally and dance and counseling.

That’s it? A canceled dance? Ooh, I’m shaking!

Here’s what: That school is out of control. One of the biggest reasons that it is out of control is because the response to student behavior such as this is tepid. After a period of weak discipline, a culture develops – a mindset – and students understand that the tail is wagging the dog.

At CdM High, the tail has been wagging the dog for a very long time.

Principal Kathy Scott aided in the tail-wagging by describing a “… parent community where a pervasive culture exists that allows or tolerates their children to bend or break the law and violate district policies.”

In other words, the parents tolerate this behavior so disciplining the kids won’t do any good unless parents change.

Jane Garland has another belief. In the comment section of the Pilot story on the incident, Garland – another former N-MUSD employee who resigned in disgust – claims that there is a classification of students called “high profile” and that they are not subject to the same disciplinary rules as other students. After the cheating scandal almost three years ago, Garland got disgusted with the district’s disciplinary double standard and resigned.

Here’s what: Identify as many of the troublemakers as possible and high-profile or not, throw the book at them. But forget about the usual disciplinary actions and try something else because clearly, what they’re doing is not working. I’ve mentioned my recommendation before – perhaps it’s time to give it a try.

In the meantime, we have yet another non-response from the superintendent. The top guy. The face of the district. The guy who is going to tell us on Monday at the annual love-in known as the state-of-the-schools breakfast that everything is great! The guy who lives in Long Beach and chooses not to be a part of our community even though according to lack-of-Trustee Dana Black we’re paying him big bucks so he can afford to live here. The guy who avoids scandals, preferring to delegate messaging to subordinates so he can avoid responsibility and take credit.

Yeah, that guy. He’s the same one to whom the school board club is about to give yet another raise.

So at the end of it all, we’ve got high-profile kids supervised by a low profile superintendent.

Steve Smith