By now, many of you have probably heard about the fight involving two Fort Mill Middle School football players. You’ve probably come to the conclusion that a defenseless kid was bullied, taunted and beat up by several others for his Jewish heritage.
In today’s day and age, racism and bullying are two pretty hot button topics. Tie them together with somebody who is driven to get the story heard and you have the makings of a violently combustible situation.
By now, many of you have probably heard about the fight involving two Fort Mill Middle School football players. You probably read it in one of the two articles in this paper that ran last week, or maybe the one that ran in the Rock Hill Herald, or perhaps you’ve even seen a tearful YouTube video on it. If you’ve witnessed any of those items, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that a defenseless kid was bullied, taunted and beat up by several others for his Jewish heritage.
You are hearing exactly what the aggrieved mom wants you to hear. I partially understand. As a parent myself I want to protect my kids. But I also want to do it correctly.
My stance is when I hear somebody say “I couldn’t remain silent,” it really means “I didn’t want to stay silent.” The mom has contacted the school district, a local synagogue, the S.C. Council on the Holocaust, various social media outlets and all of the local papers. Once you unleash a Pandora’s Box of accusations, especially concerning racism, you can’t take them back. You have to be 100 percent certain that not only are the allegations true, but that there is no contradictory side of the story.
There is another side to this story.
Allegedly, there wasn’t just teasing about a Jewish heritage. There was also a slur hurled toward the other kid fighting that is the Mother of all Slurs. I don’t need to name it if you know that the other teenager is African-American and it is an insult that would get Rev. Al Sharpton on the next flight here if publicized.
If both students were insulted, what would make a Jewish slur worse than a black one? What makes one kid getting punched worse than another one getting punched at the same time? There are two victims and two protagonists in this fight, yet only one of them is being heard.
Frankly, I don’t know what the end goal is. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding fighting and two people came to blows. The two fighters were suspended. What is the desired result for taking this public? Is national attention supposed to stop adolescents from teasing each other?
I wouldn’t want to become the face of a campaign where the facts are bent to promote it. The goal should be to have the matter handled by the proper disciplinary way by the school. That seems to have occurred.
The problem with public battles are that facts eventually come out. One side of the story has been screamed from the rooftops. This could have been a perfect situation to use as a learning tool to teach self-control and turning the other cheek. But this was a fistfight which bloodied two people and caused the race card to be bent beyond recognition. It now resembles shameless attention-seeking.