There’ve been a couple of news stories lately that have piqued my interest as a parent.
A local story where two 13 year old students were tricked into eating moose poop while on a school trip.
Apparently the moose droppings were placed in a sandwich bag and offered to students as chocolate covered almonds by a parent chaperone on the trip. With the principal, the students’ teachers, and students all around watching, these students ate a piece of the moose poop.
One news story called the prank a “sick, sado-masochistic act” and while I think that might be going a little far, it is definitly something that crossed the line. I think what makes it worse is the fact that this wasn’t a teenage prank, but something instigated by a parent, a prank that many people are calling “adult bullying.”
How do you think these 13yo students felt after being tricked into eating shit while their peers AND mentors sat around laughing at them? Who were they supposed to talk to?
I don’t think this would have garnered as much attention were it to happen strictly between students. Another instance of bullying? Probably. But as soon as you involve adults, especially as instigators of the prank, it crossed the line.
I think what bothers me the most about this incident is that it was those in charge, those whose responsibility it was to ensure the safety of the students, that let the students down. The school staff allowed the adult bully to turn them into bystanders and failed to protect the safety of the children. And I’m just just talking about the physical safety (though who knows what kind of bacteria and crap is in the poop), but their psychological safety as well. Bullying isn’t just physical, and it is up to those in charge to protect those beneath them.
This story is garnering lots of press, both locally and internationally. Everyone has an opinion with some calling it a heinous crime where everyone involved should be sued, and those calling it a harmless prank that has been blown out of proportion. As a parent, I have no idea how I’d react if they were one of my children, but I do know that the adults involved should have known better.