According to The Associated Press, Principal Eric Messerli, has just been reinstated for playfully pulling a student’s soccer jersey over his head and then giving said student a wedgie during a varsity soccer game. Superintendent Hannibal Anderson didn’t believe that the behavior warranted further serious action, other than the 6-day suspension Mr. Messerli already served.

With a Superintendent named Hannibal, I think the kid should have been happy to just get a wedgie. While the Principal shouldn’t have blurred the lines between teacher and child, I don’t think this overreaction was necessary. I have witnessed many normally sane adult males who “got carried” away in the spirit of comraderie during a game. Overall, I think this type of over-reaction and punishment of teachers and adults in authority over children is more damaging in alot of cases to the child than the actual event. The constant urge to sue anyone and everyone for the most innocuous of offenses erodes away respect, the ability to compromise, and gives people a sense of entitlement that I find greatly disturbing. It’s like this huge “get out of jail free” card for normal, character-shaping life events.

What’s next, schools outlawing running on the playground because kids might get injured? Don’t laugh, because that’s already happened.

While some bloggers commend Hannibal in a way, I think a distinction needs to be made between minor lapses in judgement and serious offenses that negatively impact the student and have long lasting consequences. Embarrassment happens and finding ways to positively deal with it is what being a kid and teenager, in particular, is all about. Trying to sue that out of society isn’t going to grow healthy kids – but weak ones.

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