It’s hard to get the facts straight about an incident that involves people under 18 years old. In journalism, we have a practice not to publish the names of minors, while school districts and police departments cannot legally release information about them.
This much is clear. Three freshmen girls were suspended from school for three or four days in relation to moving seven St. Francis High football gear bags underneath some showers in the girl’s locker room during halftime. One of the girls turned the showers on causing damage to several cell phones. Three families paid for the damage to cell phones that were in the bags at a cost reported by them to be $1,700. There were no criminal charges filed and the families hoped to chalk it up as a mistake that the girls apologized for, paid their dues for and missed school for.
But the girls are reportedly feeling the backlash at school from some members of the student body and a segment of the community for making the school look bad. And the issue was stirred up again after the Press-Banner published an opinion piece by a lady in community in the Nov. 26 edition (Is drinking on campus really worse than vandalism and theft?) that challenged the idea that the vandalism suspension should be comparable to an alcohol-related suspension.
Alcohol and vandalism are serious problems at any high school. Some parents in Scotts Valley believe alcohol use is worse in Scotts Valley than in other places, but studies have shown that every school faces these issues. Scotts Valley simply has the parent involvement that other districts may not, and stories and passions spread like wildfire.
We’d like to encourage those involved in any situation, including students, school officials and parents to remember that young people make mistakes and then pay for them.
Please take this incident in context: No one was injured, no criminal charges were levied on these students and there seems to be no severe lasting damage. However, by some accounts, some at the school have made them feel like outcasts. Pranks and crimes are mistakes that students make. Parents and students need to realize this, and support these youngsters through their failings.