Penn State Failed. Allegedly.

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What happened at Penn State is horrific.crying-nittany-lion

The victims, families, coaches, players, students, professors, and good people of Happy Valley will never be the same.

Especially after the hundreds of hours of trials we are all about to watch (this may make the OJ case look tame).

But there is something we can all learn from this tragedy (way too little… way too late).

We all think we know what good looks like.

We think we know what evil looks like.

The truth is we don’t.

Heroes and villains are very cut and dry when you are a kid.

Or at least they should be.

The white hats are good.

The black hats are bad.

But as we get older this gets blurry.

It turns out the world is way more gray than black and white.

This is okay for adults, but not for kids.

This is where the leaders of Penn State failed.

I’m sorry, allegedly failed.

If you work at a school, you have one obligation above and beyond your day-to-day job.

You aren’t there just to teach.  Or coach.  Or look after the finances.

There’s one job.

And one job only.

To keep children safe.

Everything else is extra.

Penn State failed in this regard.


They began to think their job was to have a successful football team.

And market a safe university.

And keep alumni happy and proud.

They forget their real job.

The safety of children.

At least they allegedly forgot.

There is a reason we are Mandated Reporters and not Suggested Reporters.  I also wonder how much Penn State will have to pay before this is over.  $50 million?  $100 million?  More?

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5 Responses to “Penn State Failed. Allegedly.”

  1. Carla
    on Nov 21st, 2011
    @ 10:02 pm

    I agree. My heart hurts for the students who did not get the best from adults who were supposed to protect them. As a mother of six, I expect help from the village, and I in turn, am the village.

  2. Wozza
    on Nov 22nd, 2011
    @ 5:10 am

    Two points Michael:

    I had a 300% increase in traffic on my Baggy Trousers blog today. Same day I said in a comment to your ‘thankful’ post that I’d done my own list on my own blog. Coincidence? I think not!

    Two – I have no idea what your latest blog refers to but I’ll find out. Takes quite a bit to get you all riled up so it must be big.

  3. Wozza
    on Nov 22nd, 2011
    @ 5:24 am

    Part 2 – I’ve just read about this in the Guardian and reread your post. My comment would be -

    Evil happens when good men do nothing!

  4. Angel Read
    on Nov 22nd, 2011
    @ 7:09 pm

    Its definitely a sad situation overall. First of all, I can’t imagine why a coach would undress and shower with the children! And second of all, if you saw a child being abused, wouldn’t you intervene right there and then, instead of just quietly going off to report it?

  5. Pat
    on Nov 25th, 2011
    @ 4:03 am

    I’m not sure how it is in your state, but in our state, schools worry about being labeled “unsafe”. After so many incidences, a school will get this label. We need to forget about labeling and take care of the students, faculty and staff in that environment! Before I retired, I was assaulted by a student and hinted by administration not to file a report or it will hurt our standing as a safe school. But I had no intention of sweeping this under the rug and the student was convicted of assault and battery. Later I found out that he had assaulted 2 other teachers before me and nothing was done to him. Maybe I would not have been assaulted if he hadn’t learned that he could get away with it! It is a shame that this is the kind of examples we are showing children of all ages. Our adult behavior is important and we need to show children that we are not afraid to stand up for what is right and that we will protect them!

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