All too rarely a news story sneaks along that gives me hope for humanity, and here’s one such story, which got none of the media attention it deserved.
On October 15 thirty-nine students were suspended from the Centenary Heights State High School in Toowomba for, wait for it… doing absolutely nothing.
Two female students were caught fighting, and thirty-nine were suspended for having prior knowledge of the fight, watching it take place, and taking no action to stop it.
Here’s the article, if you’re interested:
The parents of at least 36 of the 39 children expressed their support for the suspension.
Some parents have said that their children weren’t there and didn’t have knowledge of the fight, so shouldn’t have been punished.
Before handing out the suspensions, I’m sure the school did their homework (pun intended).
However, if there was anyone who was wrongly suspended, that’s just bad luck. As the alternative was handing out no suspensions at all, thus sending the message that as long as you didn’t do anything, then that’s the same as not doing anything wrong.
Students who learn that lesson turn into the adults who let robberies happen on crowded trains and sexual assaults happen on train platforms; they are the hundreds and thousands of people who pass by those who need help without ever helping.
You witness something: an accident, a crime, or a fight. It’s nothing to do with you. It’s far easier not to get involved. Well, far easier on you.
Too rarely does anyone take responsibility for anything. Jails are full of ‘em. Even people who admit they’re guilty will seldom admit responsibility, which is one of the main reasons they’re able to justify committing the crime in the first place – whatever happens, they didn’t have a choice, so it wasn’t their fault.
Nobody takes responsibility, nobody wants to get involved, and as a result, nobody helps those who need help the most.
The fact that we live in a society where this has become the norm makes me not want to be part of society.
It makes me want to freeze myself for a few thousand years and hope that when I wake up things are far better and we haven’t destroyed all life on earth, which at the moment is unfortunately looking like the far more probable outcome.
You know who loses out if you stop and offer someone a hand, even if it’s not needed? Do you know who ends up feeling stupid? Nobody.
Apparently some of the high school students filmed the fight on their mobile phones. But for those wishing for a YouTube link I don’t have it, and wouldn’t share it even if I did.
However, here’s a video of a transvestite beating up a guy who wouldn’t pay:
By sharing it as part of this article, I don’t know what I’m saying. Maybe I’m part of the problem I was just writing about.
If I’d actually be there and witnessed the fight on this video, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I like to think I would’ve called the police, but I doubt I would’ve done anything unless the fight escalated.
Maybe I’m trying to say that in some circumstances there is an obvious right and wrong, and fights should be prevented where possible, but that other circumstances can be far more complicated.
Or maybe I’m saying that how you define that difference defines what sort of person you are.
I’m still trying to work out what sort of person I am.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
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