Originally created 02/10/01

Sisler: Who's at fault?



BACK HOME in Loch Lynn, Md., we often played "pitch and catch." There usually weren't enough kids to field an entire baseball team, so the three or four of us who would get together would spend time just tossing the ball around. If one of us would throw the ball in such a manner that the intended receiver could not catch it, the thrower would holler out, "My fault!" Hardly anyone does that anymore, and it is not just in kids' games.

The buzz last week was about the eight Glenn Hills High School band members who were allegedly caught having sex in a hotel room while on a field trip. Published reports said, "The students likely (emphasis added) will spend the remainder of the school year at the Richmond County Alternative School, according to Charles Larke, Richmond County school superintendent. The band director, Charles Johnson, also faces disciplinary action, Dr. Larke said, ... the band director could face anything from a written reprimand to suspension or dismissal."

One parent conceded to Chronicle reporter Justin Martin, "the students had done wrong, but blamed chaperones for failing to adequately supervise the students."

Okey-dokey. This one is as clear as it can be. Students were canoodling, and the students may be sent to alternative school. Students were canoodling, and the band director could be fired. Students were canoodling, and the chaperones are responsible. Or did I miss something?

DID ANYONE holler, "My fault?"

Stick with me a minute on this one. Your intrepid columnist will get to the bottom of this and affix proper blame.

The band director and the chaperones have already been blamed by others, so let's see if there are additional culprits here.

Why were the students in Florida? Trip planners, event planners, all are canoodle-responsible.

Certainly we will have to blame the hotel staff for assigning rooms to the students and giving them a place to canoodle.

The maids cleaned the room, making it conducive to canoodling, so they share responsibility.

HECK, WE need to blame the construction crew for their part in this scandal, and the owners of the hotel for even wanting to build the thing in the first place, and while we're at it, let's throw in all of the stockholders who wanted to make money on their investment. It is their fault the kids were canoodling!

Let's not stop here.

The whole city of St. Augustine deserves blame for making their fair city a place band students would wish to visit and therein canoodle.

The students could never have arrived in St. Augustine to canoodle if it were not for some means of transportation, so the conveyance manufacturers are at fault. And the road builders. And the map makers. And the producers of oil and gasoline (maybe we should add the dinosaurs and pre-historic plants whose bodies contributed to petroleum production). We have to ferret out all of the evildoers because the little darlings certainly cannot be held accountable. After all, it was only their bodies that canoodled. Someone made it possible for them to do it.

BUT LEST THE guilty escape, we must also add to the list of villains Don Juan Ponce de Leon who first sighted the mainland of Florida on March 27, 1513, and claimed the temptation spot for Phillip II, King of Spain. Phillip bears blame, too, because he sent Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Spain's most experienced admiral, to govern Florida, and instructed him to explore and to colonize the territory.

Exploring and colonizing was not enough for the good Don. No, he had to actually fortify the existing Timucuan Indian village and rename it St. Augustine (because he arrived off the coast of Florida on Aug. 28, 1565 on the good saint's day). Finally! We are at the bottom of this. The band members from Glenn Hills High School are not guilty at all. It is the fault of Augustine, saint of God and former canoodler, himself. Release the students from their captivity. They are innocent canoodlers!

How different are the Glenn Hills canoodlers from Junette Maria Romer and Angela Scannapieco. Last week, wearing white gowns, taking vows of celibacy and receiving rings during the "The Solemn Rite of Consecration of Virgins for Women Living in the World," the women pledged to remain chaste, attend Mass daily and devote themselves to prayer.

ROMER AND Scannapieco took personal responsibility for their lives and their actions. When will parents and school administrators stop blaming everyone except the children and hold students responsible for their behavior? As long as we empower inappropriate behavior, inappropriate behavior will continue unabated. No one, it seems, wants to holler, "My fault!"

The author is a local free-lance writer. E-mail address: david@mirkids.com