A Lesson on Corporate Punishment Lost

Once again — the few screw it up for the many and in the true form of corporate punishment the many get screwed by a few. Common sense be damned!

An Internet posting of a fist fight between students from Reno and Galena High has led Reno High’s student leader’s to cancel the schools’ Winterfest Week.  The festival’s a week-long celebration that ends in a prom-like dance.

Washoe County School District Police say one person from Reno High, two from Galena High and a former student were in the fight. Furthermore it occurred off school property and there were no reported victims.

The student leadership was allowed to cancel the  event as a way of meting out discipline for the one student’s bad behavior — which isn’t really discipline but rather punishment for the remainder not involved.  Somehow the real lesson that could have been taught — which is what discipline is and is not — was never mentioned.

Now every student at Reno High’s on notice that if their school mate messes up — expect to be held responsible.  While  it keeps the student body in line, it also creates a lack of personal responsibility and a sense of fear in the form of the “Big Brother Effect.”

Smaller organizations use the system of corporate discipline to correct behavior of individuals by leveraging peer-pressure against the offender. It works well in the squad-bay — but loses its effectiveness when administered to a crowd of a few hundred.

So, why not discipline the individual seen fighting in the now-viral Internet video?

Because it’s easier for an assembled body to hand down sentence on a faceless crowd than to look in look at the  accused, sift through evidence and draw a conclusion before pronouncing sentence. It’s a shame that such a real-life teachable incident has been wasted.

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About Tom Darby

French-born, American-raised, U.S. citizen, husband, father, friend, veteran, and writer.
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