Editorial, Issue 2 — Volume CVIII


Photo credit: Christian Navas

Imagine intense public scrutiny: your yearbook photo splashed on the front page and homepage of virtually every major news outlet, your high school inside jokes easily accessible to everyone in the hemisphere, your senior year photo exposed nationwide, and your reputation influenced by your actions in high school.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh does not have to imagine this scenario. Over the last few weeks, his high school life has permeated the public sphere, reminding high school students nationwide that their actions in high school could have serious ramifications later on in their lives.

While many argue that Kavanaugh’s experience in high school should not be considered in the decision to confirm him to the Supreme Court, two critical questions remain for Parker students: Should our actions in high school have consequences long after graduation? and should high schoolers operate knowing that this is the case?

The answers are yes. Boys and girls alike should operate prudently with regard to romantic and/or sexual advances. We should welcome any encouragement for high schoolers to avoid engaging in sexual misconduct.

Though senators can dismiss accusations with a few words, Parker students should learn from Kavanaugh’s mistakes and understand that the way in which they treat others can have a lasting impact on their lives and the lives of their victims.

At Parker, the issue remains vital to consider as high schoolers navigate the social terrain. Because Parker is a small school, any issue involving major sexual conduct infractions would quickly circulate the high school.

We recognize that Parker students have few role models in the public sphere. Legislators repeatedly dismiss morally reprehensible actions involving sexual misconduct with a few catchy words like “locker room talk” and “boys will be boys.” The President of the United States bragged about sexually assaulting women on tape, and numerous local politicians engage in scandalous behavior.

A moral crisis pervades the Beltway and statehouses nationwide as countless prominent politicians find their misdeeds excused, and Parker students find themselves exposed to the failure of politicians to behave morally. We, as high school students, need to separate politicians from their moral compasses (or lack thereof) and realize that our actions cannot be as easily excused as our lawmakers’ actions. Engaging in debauchery can have dire consequences—as it did with Kavanaugh—and we must always operate with a sense of reason about our futures—something that, a few weeks earlier, did not occur to us.

As a newspaper, we have a duty not to make any conclusions about the veracity of Dr. Blasey-Ford’s allegations until the Department of Justice fully investigates the matter. Irrespective of the verdict, the mere fact that these allegations surfaced should serve as a strong wake-up call to Parker students that their actions now could have serious consequences long after they receive their senior yearbooks.