TPH shares student voice, administrative side of FSL

by | October 30, 2012 | in Editorials | No Comments

The TPH editorial board has spent the last week gathering information about the Fantasy Slut League from students and administrators in an effort to validate Principal Rich Kitchen’s letter sent out to the parents on Friday, October 19 and the events that led up to it. Our goal is to clear up misconceptions for the student body.

Timeline of Events

  • Monday, October 1 – A parent notifies the Administration that their daughter was mistreated by a male student. The parent linked the incident to the league.
  • Tuesday, October 2 – The administration begins investigating into FSL.
  • Monday, October 15 – Kitchens informs the faculty of the FSL investigation.
  • Thursday, October 18 – Kitchens holds another meeting with the faculty.
  • Friday, October 19 – Kitchens sends letter to 1200 parents.
  • Saturday, October 20 – The Piedmont Patch publishes an article titled, “PHS Alerts Parents to Varsity Athletes’ “Points for Sex” Activity.”
  • Sunday, October 21 – Major news outlets pick up the story from the Patch.
  • Wednesday, October 24 – We spoke to Kitchens in his office and clarified information in the letter.

 

Bolded quotes are taken directly from the letter.

 

The first misconception comes from the introduction of the letter. Kitchens writes,

I am writing to follow up on information that has surfaced recently as part of our annual “Date Rape Prevention” assembly.

Kitchens told us that the information about FSL was not directly linked to the Date Rape Assembly.

“The information came up just before the Date Rape Assembly. It really had nothing to do [with it],” Kitchens said.

 

The second misconception is that Kitchens took action without sufficient information. Kitchens writes,

The Administrative staff conducted an investigation by interviewing students, parents and staff as to facts about such a league with the interest of identifying individuals involved, including student victims.

Kitchens gathered his information by calling in varsity athletes into his office. He talked to some athletes multiple times.

Kitchens said while some students were forthcoming, others lied and deceived.

“I got what I thought was enough information. Some kids came back and they admitted the existence of a lot of this,” he said.

 

The third misconception is how Kitchens identified participating teams. He writes,

It has been reported that students on some of our Varsity Teams have set up a “Fantasy Slut League.”

Kitchens said that despite having interviewed many athletes during the investigation process, there was no evidence to identify one sports team in particular.

“I could see how a varsity team that isn’t [participating in the league] could feel cast under that statement. I have gotten reports, though, that it has involved students from more than one team,” Kitchens said.

 

The fourth misconception is that the school-wide assembly will focus only on the league. Kitchens writes,

Our Acting teacher, Kim Taylor, who developed the “Date Rape Prevention” assembly, is collecting personal stories from a variety of student (and adult) sources to develop a similar type assembly that addresses this issue and other related personal integrity issues.

Kitchens said the assembly will not be about FSL, but will focus on treating each other with respect, dignity and courtesy.

“I think there’s legitimate fear out there that we’re going to put [the varsity athletes] on stage with a big A. But that’s not the case,” he said.

 

We asked Kitchens why he chose to address parents before students.

“When I got this information, I felt compelled to share it,” he said. “It’s on the parents. It’s not for me to tell you how to act outside of school. It’s up to your parents, your family.”

TPH has contacted trusted male and female students for their views about the letter and the league. We have interviewed 25 sophomore, junior, and senior girls and eight junior and senior boys. Five of the boys participated in FSL. The other three are varsity athletes that know about the league. None of our sources are identified. Again, our goal is to clear up misconceptions for the student body and address ways of moving forward.

Although most girls said they thought the league was degrading, wrong and mistreating, they said the letter exaggerated certain aspects of the league.

First, because the definition of “sexual activity”, or “hooking up” was not clearly expressed in the letter, many people were led to false assumptions.

 

The fifth misconception is that sexual activities meant having sex. The sixth misconception involves the extent of documentation of the hook up.

Kitchens writes,

Male students earn points for documented engagement in sexual activities with female students.

Of the 25 girls, 24 initially defined “hooking up” as making out, and continued to say that it could be anything but sex.

Additionally, 23 of the 25 girls said casual sex is uncommon at Piedmont High.

“Girls have to make choices, and be in control of themselves. Many girls go into parties wanting to hook up with guys,” a female student said.

The male varsity athletes told us that hook-ups were reported verbally, then posted on a Facebook group wall as documentation.

 

The seventh misconception surrounds the use of alcohol. While alcohol is present at parties, the students believe that alcohol is not commonly used to pressure and manipulate.

Kitchens writes in the letter,

Participation often involved pressure/manipulation by older students that included alcohol to impair judgment/control.

17 of the 25 girls said that guys do not give girls alcohol with the intent of hooking up with them.

The girls said that although the majority of people decide to drink in high school, people also support those who decide not to.

25 of the 25 girls said that it is entirely the girls’ decision to drink. Even though our numbers show one-hundred percent, the editorial board realizes that this may not reflect the entire population.

Eight out of the eight boys said alcohol is not forced upon girls.

 

Lastly, we spoke with the FSL participants, some of which refused to talk or denied their involvement, some of which spoke openly, and some of which apologized.

“There weren’t a whole lot of victims because nobody did anything out of line in terms of going out and hooking up with someone just because they wanted points,” one player said, “All that we did was document information.”

Another said, “We’ve all realized it was wrong and degrading to the girls involved. At the time, we never thought of it as being as bad as it really is or how it could hurt the girls involved.”

He added that this will teach them a life lesson that the boys cannot be ignorant about what they are doing and act in the moment.

“I want the student body to know that there are boys who feel sorry for what happened, but we’re learning from it,” he said. “Sometimes it takes mistakes to learn how to be better.”

Though this situation goes beyond an apology, we acknowledge that apology is the first step to understanding the situation from the female perspective. The FSL participants are not heartless beasts. Rather, many of them have positively impacted the school and their peers in other ways. Our goal now is to focus on the future and how we can better ourselves and our community through this issue.

 

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, students reflected in class on their reaction and feelings towards FSL. Although the media coverage will blow over, the issue cannot be brushed under the rug. Rather, we should work as a school and as a community to handle the larger issues, such as gender equality, bullying, and sexual pressure. The boys have made an act of poor judgment, but it should not define them. Girls need to be valued for more than their physical worth, and that is something that we can work on as a society. Girls need to learn how to respect themselves, and boys need to learn how to respect girls. As a female student wrote in her letter to the Patch, “FSL did not create this unfriendly world, this unfriendly world created FSL”. It’s our culture that needs to be addressed in order to be constructive and create change. TPH will continue more extensive coverage of high school culture in the next issue of the print edition, coming out on Tuesday, November 13.