Recent events have called into question the character and culture at Piedmont High School. Except that these events that cause us to question certain aspects at Piedmont are not just recent. They are not isolated shortcomings of character. In fact, one could say that these ugly incidents rear their head on a near consistent bases.
Piedmont has seen its fair share of scandals, and it seems now we have fallen into a vicious cycle where every few years something extremely serious happens that brings a shameful tone to Piedmont’s name. The year before I became a student at PHS, another scandal rocked the school and ever since, the infamy of FSL has attached itself to Piedmont High School. Both the FSL and the recent anti-semitic activities have been covered by outside media. A school that has long be associated with academic excellence is now being associated with something else. Something that should discourage people from attending school here and should make us shameful. How can we feel pride for a place where such condemnable acts keep happening?
The school administration has taken measures to try and right the wrongs that have been committed. Suspensions have been made and assemblies have been called to raise awareness of such acts. But are these the school’s best methods for fixing this issue? The short answer is yes. The administration is limited in the approaches it can take to deal with a problem that stems from student immaturity and ethical standards. What the administration is doing is effectively trying and teach morality to students. It’s not the school’s job to try and teach morality, nor should it be. This is something that should fall on the families, parents, guardians, and community of the student body.
PHS has a problem, there is no denying that, and the roots of this problem are being analyzed. It is often said that the community of Piedmont exists in a “bubble.” This statement is true, to an extent. This bubble shelters us and creates an environment that lacks consequence. This manifests in many forms. In the teacher, who is questioned for giving bad grades, as opposed to the student who earned them. In the coach, who is complained to and pressured for not giving a certain player enough time in games or for not putting a certain player on the best team. And it manifests itself in the children who have their sense of responsibility zapped from them. This is the problem. Piedmont is an environment so sheltered that there is no accountability. This is an environment where parents protect students even if the students are doing something wrong.
To some, this makes it seem as if it is ok for them to do anything they want. If they won’t be held accountable, why wouldn’t it be? But the truth is they can’t do anything they want, and it is not ok if they think they can.
Most students have good grasps on what is or isn’t ‘ok,’ and they should act on it. The school should also do its best to uphold these ethical standards. But for the few students who don’t understand what is acceptable behavior. That is the fault of the community. That is the fault of parents, peers, and other adults within the Piedmont bubble who do not hold them accountable.