When the Shore School of North Sydney made headlines last week after the details of a muck-up day scavenger hunt-type ‘Triwizard Shorenament’ were leaked everyone was, for the most part, absolutely appalled.
Appalled, but not entirely surprised.
The excuses came thick and fast. Oh, it’s just Year 12 antics. They’re rebelling against a rigid, exclusive system. And #ProudShoreMums rose up to defend their darling children (some, btw, are legal ‘adults’, now) and became memes in their own right.
Now, we’re being told that we should go easy on the students because their teen brains are a ‘work-in-progress’.
But if that’s the case, what about the brains of 10 year old children being thrown in jail for as little as stealing a chocolate bar? What about all those, predominantly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, children locked behind bars for their discretions?
But 10 year old Black kids are not a work in progress, right? https://t.co/uZ1j2HXJph
— Cin 🖤💛❤️ (@gotsthebug) September 27, 2020
If private schools really are producing the intellectual, well-rounded individuals they claim to be, surely those students’ (again, some of whom are participating as ‘legal’ adults) brains are far more developed than those of a child.
It Whole Thing Reeks Of Privilege And Entitlement.
The thing is: yes, the list is horrible, but it’s not the issue – it’s the system that produced it that’s the issue.
Dare I say, the end-of-year scavenger hunt is as much a rite of passage as a graduation ceremony, as much as a formal. Piling into your parents car with your best friends doing stupid challenges until midnight was perhaps the highlight of my final year.
I remember peeling an orange in one piece in the car park of the local Coles while half our team ran in to buy lube and cucumbers and the other half kissed the team beside us for points.
We swapped underwear and stole each others’ P-plates. We posed with our teachers at their front doors before dive-bombing into their pools. And we ran naked across a footy field.
Compared to the Shore list – which included assaults, trespassing, drug-taking, and other illegal activities – ours was incredibly tame.
We didn’t include those options because if we were caught, we knew we wouldn’t get away with it.
More excuses for hyper-privileged 17 and 18 year olds where zero would have been given to a disadvantaged school. This enabling just propagates elitism and classism.
— Julian Lalor (@SwizzleSister) September 27, 2020
Even if we leave criticism of the boys out of it – though, ffs, I hope someone talked sense into them and they realise what they planned was certifiably cooked.
Instead, let’s talk about the insidious ‘boys club’ culture of privilege and entitlement that is these same-sex private schools.
It’s the same culture that led to the St. Kevins sexist tram chant. And it’s the same sexist culture that led to the brutal, violent hazing rituals within university colleges.
The list is a reflection of a culture that has trained boys to exist in a world that doesn’t reflect reality. It never has, and never will. These institutions don’t reflect reality, so how can we expect theirs grads to be well-adjusted and function properly within it?
How is anyone meant to be considerate or respectful of the ‘other-half’ (whether it’s non-men, the ‘not-rich’, the not-white) when they have never encountered it?
These boys’ confidence to break the law and humiliate or hurt others without fear of punishment signals the insidious way these institutions’ moral compasses have been disoriented.
This ‘Triwizard Shorenament’ really says: “Fuck the rules; we have our own, anyway.”
If It’s True, Stop Letting White Boys Off And Throwing Black Children In Jail.
Say it is true, teen brains are a work in progress, what are we teaching these boys?
They’ve already been taught to have the confidence to believe the world is their oyster. They already believe (and know) they can do what they want, to who they want, when they want.
But we’re also teaching them that they can get away with it, because they always have.
Every time we make an excuse and forgive these privileged, entitled teens, the cycle continues. For every mistake they make, when we forgive them – as we always have – the belief is ingrained deeper. There are no repercussions and zero accountability.
What a privilege.
Same country where a journalist led a public hate campaign against a 9 year old? where police have a history of arresting and assaulting kids? where media spent years creating a false teen gang narrative? Or are black kids not eligible for the same empathy given to Shore kids? https://t.co/ZsDNUTnugj
— Selma 🍂 Bouvier (@atongatem) September 28, 2020
Meanwhile, we teach underprivileged and disadvantaged kids (especially Indigenous kids) that even their smallest mistakes are disastrous.
We’re teaching them that the world doesn’t belong to them, that they aren’t tolerated for being anything less than perfect. We give them no room for improvement, to learn, or to get ‘better’.
Step one foot out of line and you’re done for. What kind of a set up is that?
Frankly, I refuse to excuse graduates from one of Sydney’s top private schools as being not ‘developed’ enough to make sound decisions. Not when they orchestrated an elaborate plan to commit misogynistic, classist, and violent crimes against the public for ‘fun’.
And especially not when 600 children between 10 and 13 are in detention, our police continue leaving Indigenous people to die in jail, and the media continue to create a narrative that incites racial hatred and sometimes violence.
If these 17 and 18 year olds’ brains aren’t ‘developed’ it either means that Shore isn’t as good at “character formation” and making “responsible citizens of integrity who seek to serve the wider community” as it claims.
Or the excuses are elitist, classist and, yeah, racist. Oh, and absolute bullshit.
Image Sources: Twitter (Aushiker, SMH)