Back That A– Up – Appropriate For A High School Yearbook? Paris Gray Says It Is

Paris Gray is an honor student at Mundy’s Mill High School in Georgia. And yes it it that time of year again. The time when a lot of graduating seniors find themselves in trouble for something they have done to be clever or taking a school tradition a little too far. In the case of Ms. Gray it was a message she put into the school yearbook that eventually brought her to the attention of school administrators. She used the periodic table to spell out a message, a message that got past yearbook advisers and made it into print,

“When the going gets tough just remember to Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus.” Which means, “When the going gets tough just remember to back that a– up.”

Ms. Gray says, “Basically, it was me just saying start all over again,” she insists. “You have to go back and start all over.” The initial reaction of her mother, Zarinah Woods was, “you’re such a nerd”. This piece in The Good Men Project suggests there is no problem here except with the school administration which is punishing creativity. They feel, “Our education culture suffers from a desire to standardize and censor.”

So from her mother being tickled that her daughter is a nerd and others thinking she is creative and we shouldn’t censor there isn’t any concern that this is what passes for acceptable behavior in today’s young people. Well except for the school administrators and they are just trying to control everyone.

Times do change and what was considered inappropriate behavior in the past may be acceptable to many today. But I would suggest that those who see no harm in the way a young lady chooses to express herself need to Think. Then Think Again. But in 2014 many would not approve of my use of the term  young lady either.

So we are moving on towards a better tomorrow as the school’s principle and area superintendent  apologized to Ms. Gray for the miscommunication and said of course they would not stop her from giving her speech at graduation ceremonies. Ms. Gray had been stressed and said the fallout was threatening to ruin her senior year.

So she wound up with an in-school suspension and didn’t get to participate in the senior walk but will be allowed to graduate and speak at the exercises. She was being threatened with not being able to participate in the graduation at all.

I’m happy Ms. Gray’s senior year hasn’t been ruined but I wonder if she has been sent the wrong message, a sort of miscommunication? She may believe that once out in the real world she can continue to behave as she wishes, just being a nerd I suppose, and won’t suffer any consequences. Because every week I can give examples where lives have been ruined, careers lost, reputations damaged beyond repair because of a misstatement, a harmless comment taken out of context. And for all of those for whom Ms. Gray’s words were not a problem, it did bother others. So for you who feel it doesn’t matter, for you who say it isn’t up to a school or society to “standardize and censor”, don’t be surprised by the reaction from others the next time you claim to be upset by a remark. That will be a good time to remember who doesn’t believe in standards and doesn’t like censorship.

On the other hand there is always another point of view to ponder,

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

At another Georgia high school, Calhoun High in Calhoun, three seniors won’t be getting their diplomas after being charged with gang rape at an after prom party. I but that might ruin their senior year with some serious stress. Glad there are still some boundaries. But then too, they have only been charged with the crime. Does anyone want to debate due process? The girl who is just a nerd, the girl who is a victim and the boys who have been charged with a serious crime – all of this could have been avoided. No one would have suffered needless stress if there had been a modicum of Thinking going on. Sure we can, I know I have, thought things through and then still made the wrong decision but the Thinking Process being short-circuited is the crucial factor here.

There are many variables in life. But wrong-headed decisions are usually the result of justification, denial and a good old case of not Thinking Things Through. You can put the blame on immaturity, even youthful indiscretion until you are well into middle-age it seems, racism, poverty, etc. But that doesn’t really let one off the hook. There are plenty of young people who can, and do make good decisions. And despite all the ism’s and poverty there are good people of all races and ethnic groups; people as poor as dirt and even some rich people, who rise above it all by using the brain their Creator gave them and are successful and happy. While others, with the exact same set of circumstances are living lives of despair and looking for someone or something to blame. But even if you can make the blame stick, it isn’t likely to change your circumstances.

So when things go wrong and you want to blame your situation on the poverty you live in, the color of your eyes or that you are just too beautiful to get a fair deal… Think Again. The condition you are in may be largely of your own making and the way out and up is usually going to be up to you as well.

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