When a local movie theater owner opts not to show a particular movie in one of his theaters (his theater, his call...right?) and the whole world seems to come unglued, it is easy to sit back and realize that everyone is making a mountain out of a molehill. However, when things like that happen closer to home it is sometimes a little harder to recognize.
For well over 30 years there has been a hot rivalry between Carbon High School and Emery High School and at any competition, from football to debate, the other school is always the team to beat. There have been shenanigans going on between these two schools for so long that they are simply expected and, for the most part, enjoyed by everyone. Only on the rarest of occasions do these activities become harmful. Generally speaking, this rivalry also includes a great deal of mutual respect.
Recently, on the day of the Carbon/Emery boy's basketball home game, the girls basketball team decided to show their school spirit by making a lot of spirit posters for the high school gym and then meeting the Carbon High bus at the county line and escorting them to the high school. There cars were decorated with the typical type of spirit signs one always sees at sporting events. The back car also had a sign which read "oversized load," as is customary when any oversized vehicle is being escorted down the highway. These girls weren't tailgating or slowing down or obstructing the bus in any way. They were driving the speed limit and all of their seatbelts were buckled. There were no laws being broken, but three of the vehicles were stopped by police officers and names, parents' names and phone numbers were taken, upsetting the girls very much. When these girls got to school they were jumped by the high school administration because one of their signs had apparently offended someone or had the potential to offend someone. The sign said "Welcome Dinettes." It was immediately ripped down and all of the other sign that the girls had spent most of the day on were taken down and confiscated. Those signs said "Go Spartans" and there were eight individual signs spelling out S-p-a-r-t-a-n-s---all typical high school gym posters. The girls were then informed that they had sorely offended the Carbon bus driver and the cheerleaders and they were expected to apologize, which they did. Not being able to find the cheerleaders, they found the cheerleader advisor who was harsh with them and told them they really owed the cheerleaders an apology. At that point, they found the cheerleaders and apologized. The cheerleaders, however, were very good natured and not quite sure what the big fuss was about.
These young ladies, who were stopped by the police and harshly reprimanded by school administrators, are some of the finest students at Emery High. They do their homework after being at school until 6 p.m. every day. They catch up in classes that they miss to attend ballgames. They are on the honor roll and hold leadership positions and do not get into trouble. These girls, who were accused of malice and disrespect, are the same ones who stayed late last year at the state volleyball tournament to support the Carbon High volleyball team in their championship game. They and many of their parents also traveled to the state girls basketball tournament last year, after a crushing first round defeat of their own, to support their rivals, and friends, on the Carbon team. By the same token, Morgan Warburton, one of the finest girls to ever play in the state always had high praise for the Emery team as did Coach Bean. Not bad for arch rivals.
One thing I would like to add in defense of public school administrators is the fact that there isn't another profession anywhere that has to answer to so many people. They are responsible to the federal government, the state government, the State Office of Education, the teachers unions, the district office, all the teachers in their respective schools, every parent of every student and every student. I'm a teacher and I love it, but I wouldn't be a principal for any amount of money. It has to be an awful job.
As a closing thought, consider these two ideas. There are always things to be worked up over, and we all know people who are always up in arms over something. That seems very sad. Second, the vast majority of Emery and Carbon teenagers are fine, honorable young people who constantly get lumped in the "terrible teenager" category. There are certainly enough real mountains to conquer in life without inventing new ones.