No Confession, No Lunch: Idaho High School Reportedly Imposes Collective Punishment On Male Students

1377365540882_wnp250It appears that the school officials at Bonners Ferry High School have learned to appreciate the concept of collective population punishment. After a series of faux bomb threats scrawled in the boy’s bathroom, school officials have placed large areas under continual surveillance and reportedly withheld food from all boys to try to prompt them to turn in the culprits.

Last year, the school had a wave of hoax threats. Two students were prosecuted and another was expelled as a result. After shutting down the school after someone scribbled something referring to a bomb, the school reportedly told parents that male students would be denied lunches since the boy’s bathroom was the scene of the scribbling.

I certainly understand the frustration of the school since this is the 11th such hoax. However, the article below reports that the school responded with collective punishment based on gender: all male students at the high school lost their lunchtime privileges for two days to put pressure on students to turn in their friends.

There are a number of problems. Starting with the least problematic, two days of bag lunches hardly seems likely to produce public condemnations or confessions. Second, why wouldn’t there also be a possibility that girls also know of the culprit? Third, in my day, denial of a school lunch would be a reward as a protection from Sloppy Joe overload.

Finally, and more importantly, the school is teaching students that collective punishment and coercions is a proper response to such problems. No individualized suspicion. No reasonable suspicion. Just collective punishment due to some clown who scribbled a thoughtless note on some bathroom stall.

However, Richard Conley, superintendent of the Boundary County School District insists “I think the message got sent. We’ve had a very, very good response from the student body.”

In case any of the “Badger Boys” are looking for authority, they may want to cite Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: “No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” The association of collective punishment with terrorism is worth noting.

Moreover, I am bit surprised that the school can suspend school lunches, which are subject to state and federal law.

I am not saying that this is akin to the Germans taking out every tenth male for a firing squad in a French village for punishment for the activities of the Maquis in World War II. Two days of bag lunches is not a major punishment. However, the use of collective punishment sounds a terrible message to students about basic rights and due process.

What do you think?

Source: Spokesman

49 thoughts on “No Confession, No Lunch: Idaho High School Reportedly Imposes Collective Punishment On Male Students”

  1. @ nonny o so in other words you’re saying no teens before this generation attempted these types of gags in order to get out of school early? to avoid taking a test for a certain class? or just because ? in some aspects that is exactly what is wrong with todays generation you’ve forgotten that you at one time were a teenager yourself and the mess you pulled to get out of all situations. and if bonners is as small as you say it is then bombing it would do what to serve whom? NO DAMN BODY!!!!

  2. Thank you, hoosker, for demonstrating Teahadist Republican “Logic” by deliberately misconstruing what I wrote to prove you like to goad people into arguments. I haven’t seen such inflammatory language trying to bait a person into arguing with you since the last YouTube video I saw featuring wrong assumptions and inadequate conclusions from Faux Snooze.

    Obviously your education and work experience has not included English, Logic, Philosophy, or Law Enforcement.


  3. NonnyO, so you agree that if one teenage does something wrong, all teenagers, regardless if they have taken responsibility for their actions (or more precisely, responsibility for not knowing anything about it), should be punished . . . if one adult does something wrong all adults who may or may not know who committed the act should be punished, I got it. I guess you are assuming that all the kids in that school know who is guilty, and if they don’t to bad, they should be punished anyway because, well, their teenagers and you don’t like them. I got that too.

  4. Woody Allen wrote something like, “Those who can – do. Those who can’t – teach. And those who can’t teach – teach gym.” Perhaps that should be expanded to include, “Those who are devoid of any common sense whatsoever – should become school administrators!”

  5. It’s not about “teaching these kids proper respect for authority” (although they could do with that, too, at this stage of their lives; I’m guessing more than one or two are bullies if they’re stupid enough to use bomb threats and vandalism to get their way).

    It’s about teaching these kids to take responsibility for their actions and act like young adults. If they do something good, they can take the proper praise & credit, blush, and say ‘Thank you.’ If they do something bad, they need to act like adults, admit what they did, and do whatever punishment is meted out. When a person becomes an adult they’re expected to take the proper credit or blame for their actions and do so with some modicum of maturity by the time they reach age 18.

    Stop excusing irresponsible, reckless, selfish, and criminal behavior by teens who are almost old enough to vote.

  6. Collective punishment doesn’t work and it is unfair to the students who did nothing wrong. The administration should be fired. And what Mike A. said.

  7. line up the entire student body and count them off and execute every tenth one.

    they must be taught proper respect for authority.

  8. Tsk, tsk, tsk, hoosker. It was teenagers who did the pranks and vandalism, so it is the teens who should clean up the mess. They are almost adults, sorry to say, and they haven’t learned the first thing about taking responsibility for their actions. Preferably, only the guilty should be made to clean up after their mess as a lesson in taking the punishment for committing the crimes, but if the innocent ones are protecting the guilty by not letting authorities know who the guilty ones are, then they should suffer the same fate as an accessory to the crimes. That’s what happens in the grown up world of adults.

    So, no. Since I’m not a teenager I would not help these snotty-nosed brats learn to be young adults because I wouldn’t cover up their crimes. They need to take responsibility for their own actions. Most will be able to vote either as seniors in high school or the year after they graduate. Teen years are when young people are supposed to learn to be adults, and that means they are supposed to take responsibility for their own actions and expect to be held accountable for their actions – good, bad, or indifferent.

    Isn’t that how your parents raised you?

    I already take responsibility for my own actions, have done so all my life, even before I became a legal adult; that’s how my parents raised me. Oh, and I was born nine months after VE Day which makes me a first year Baby Boomer and age 67…, and I’m very much a female.


  9. Although, the efforts of the school administrators in wanting to ensure a quality education while providing a safe environment for the students is appreciated. I find it disturbing they called for a closed campus for all male students. Male students should not be discriminated against based on gender. Discrimination based on gender or sex is a common civil rights violation. If having a closed campus for Bonners Ferry High School helps provide a solution to end the bomb hoax threats the closure should apply to all students.

  10. Correct, pdm. Bonners Ferry is a small community (I’ve been through it on the way to a day trip to Canada, but didn’t stop or live there). From Wikipedia: “The population was 2,543 at the 2010 census.” That there are communities MUCH smaller than half a million never seems to occur to people like “news” broadcasters or those used to living in large cities. Rural communities with small populations are where everyone literally knows who you are, even if you don’t socialize with them. They at least know what you look like, your car’s description, where you work, who you’re related to, etc.

    When a community is that small, and small budgets for police, firefighters, first responders, and the like come into play, there’s not much in the way of redundant personnel hired to work those departments (they can’t afford it, quite frankly) so each person who handles emergencies – or potential emergencies – is necessary. Pulling them away from something like saving a life (or trying to), or fighting fires, etc., for a “simple prank” puts lives at risk and someone could die. That’s what these selfish kids who have repeatedly pranked the school are doing. What if it was the lives of one of their parents, grandparents, siblings, other relative, or best friend who was put in danger (or worse, died) because emergency personnel are busy with a prank…? Who would you sue first if it was your loved one who died because rescue personnel were tied up at the high school for a teenage prank?

    I don’t know why, but younger generations are becoming more and more selfish as time marches on. I lived on a farm in an even smaller community in another state when I was young (population sign said 100, but one family moved away and an old woman everyone called Grandma died at age 104, so the sign was changed to Population: 92), and that’s where I learned to think about how my actions, reactions, or inaction affected both animals and other people.

    OTOH, I had good parents who were kind and considerate, so that made all the difference in the world. While we were never, ever treated harshly, we knew our parents would be highly displeased and disappointed if we misbehaved, treated animals or humans cruelly, or acted selfishly, and we just knew we had to make our parents proud of us, so we had to be on our best behavior at all times because what we did reflected on them. No, we were never threatened with punishment of any kind, but we grew up knowing right from wrong and I knew right from wrong from the age of 18 months forward since my first conscious memory is of an instance where I misbehaved and consequences were immediate – which is why I don’t buy the false notion that kids don’t know right from wrong or the consequences of their actions by the time they’re in first grade or older – watch any toddler watch a parent who has told them not to touch something they’re supposed to leave alone, and they test boundaries and start to inch their little fingers toward the thing they’re not supposed to touch because they know it’s wrong to do something they’ve been told not to do. People underestimate children.

    Worse, they don’t expect teenagers to act like young adults who are responsible for their actions, and that is a disservice to the teens and to the communities in which they grow up.

  11. If they make you “Brown Bag” lunch, then the poop in the bag trick would be more appropriate.

  12. Nice catch, Simms. As Emily Litella would say, “Never mind…”

    Simms missed.

    It isn’t about lunch, open campus or not. It’s about the specious collective punishment of the entire male student body (any person male/female/student/faculty with access to the school’s bathrooms could have scrawled the threats).

  13. I don’t agree with the collective punishment, but the sanctions have been misrepresented. From the article:

    “All male students at the high school lost their lunchtime open campus privilege for two days…..”

    That means that the students are not allowed to leave campus for lunch, not that they have to brown bag it and miss any subsidized meals.

  14. That’s certainly one way to deter future similar conspiracies. Maybe that kind of approach is what’s needed for other conspiracies such as the JFK
    coup, Moon hoaxes, 9/11, Sandy Hook, Boston bom bings, “Osamba bin
    Zombie”, Aurora eck setteruh.

  15. I had a coach that used collective punishment. It destroyed the moral of a team that had good morale previously. Teaching/coaching is supposed to be about motivation. This is negative motivation, as was the horseshit decision in North Andover.

  16. NonnyO says “IMHO, they should have made them clean up the graffiti and wash the entire bathroom, ceiling to floors (with toothbrushes) and repaint where necessary so the janitors wouldn’t have to clean up after these spoiled brats.” Since innocent people should do this wouldn’t that include NonnyO? He’s is just as guiltless as the male student body and should be punished for it. (Assuming NonnyO is male).

  17. OT

    One day from default – 16 days of government shut down. That’s a big deal. Why hasn’t there been a post on this crisis? I’ve my own opinion – just an opinion mind you – but I wonder if it isn’t because it is hard to paint Obama as the bad guy here.

  18. You don’t love your kids enough if you have them in fascist run US government schools.

    In a private school, they handle things differently.

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