Just like Philly: Enforce the rules, get punished

The Philadelphia School District has just pulled a Krasner, excusing the rule-breakers and punishing the enforcers. It is a bad message to send to a society that seems to be unraveling at the seams.

Sounds like an old man yelling at clouds. I am old, old enough to know better, and I know we are all better off when there are rules, nowadays often called guard rails.

The issue: At the esteemed Girl’s High commencement a few weeks ago, principal Lisa Mesi withheld the diplomas of two students who broke the long-standing tradition that graduates solemnly walk across the stage and receive their diplomas in silence.

They did receive their diplomas later.

However, outrage was stirred up on social media, with the principal reportedly receiving death threats.

The school’s Alumnae Association supported Mesi, according to reporting in the Inquirer.  

“She is a compassionate leader and outspoken advocate for our little sisters,” the alumnae group said in a statement. 

The group criticized misleading national reporting on the incident, then continued:

“At the onset — and previously shared with all students, families, and other attendees — Principal Mesi clearly communicated the guidelines and regulations for the ceremony with an added dose of warmth and humor,” the alumnae group said.

The message was: No nonsense.

Despite the warning, Hafsah Abdul-Rahman did a griddy dance and an audience member laughed, and Saleemah Burch flipped her hair and made a gesture, and someone clapped.

Mesi enforced the rules — and now has been relieved as principal by the district, which did not say if the change was permanent.

Let me say at this point, I don’t agree with the tradition. Commencement is a time of joy and exuberance. At my granddaughter’s recent college commencement, you could tell who were the most popular students — or who had the largest families — by the cheers, hooping, and hollering. (Granddaughter was summa cum laude, since you asked.)

My own college graduating class was so large we didn’t walk across the stage. There were 4,000 of us, it would have taken all day. We were told to stand if, say, we were candidates for a BS. We stood, were told to move our tassels to the left, and sit down. We had to return later in the week to retrieve our diplomas from a college office. Kind of grim.

Girl’s High had about 200 graduates and two — 1% — just could not honor the tradition.

And the School District criticized the tradition, as if this were the first time it learned of it. Are they asleep at 440 N. Broad?

I read some remarkable defenses of the two narcissists who broke the rules and then bleated about how much it hurt them to get their diplomas late.

They are Gen Z and won’t follow foolish rules, said one woman.

The 198 other graduates are also Gen Z and seemed to have no problems with the tradition. These two were self-involved egotists.

If you don’t like the tradition, go to the student government and get them to talk to the principal about changing it. That’s how smart young ladies would handle it.

Instead, the 1%  chose to break the rules — and the principal gets put on the dunce stool.

I liken the behavior of the 1% to the plague of retail shoplifting we are experiencing, because District Attorney Larry Krasner, in the throes of “restorative justice,” won’t prosecute thefts under $500. So — d’uh — we get more thefts. 

Bad behavior unpunished produces more bad behavior. Every parent knows that.

I also liken the girls’ behavior to those millions of student debtors who have their hands out to the government to wipe away transfer the money they owe to taxpayers. What it has in common with the 1% is no consequences. 

Another online kvetch — this had to come — called it racist, squelching “Black culture.” Girl’s High is 67% Black. 

A quick glance shows these earlier Girl’s High Black graduates — singer Jill Scott, Episcopal Bishop Barbara Clementine Harris, actress Erika Alexander, former Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Common Pleas Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson. 

I knew some of them. Never heard them complain about Girl’s High.

I don’t want to slam the two students too hard, they’re just kids. Their bad behavior and “punishment” could have been a valuable learning experience about following the rules. 

A learning experience the school district stupidly reversed.

22 thoughts on “Just like Philly: Enforce the rules, get punished”

  1. Larry, I agree. Courtesy and respect never go out of style. Kudos to the 198 young women who understood, respected, and followed the tradition that is obviously very important to the members of the Girls’ High community.

  2. Stu, it’s reading things like this that remind me why I chose to no longer reside in Philly. The city is welcome to abuse its own, but it’s not an island. We can leave and some of us do.
    It could be a great town but its pols seem more interested in making it a progressive paradise.

  3. Sorry to see followers of the liberal WOKE community win another one by getting rid of a hard working school principal. What is this teaching our kids when they see you can break the rules with no consequences. Larry you hit the nail on it’s head when you said, “A society that seems to be unraveling at the seams” that pretty much sums up the state of affairs in both our city and our country.

    1. Way tired of hearing you people throw the word “woke” around like it’s some kind of insult. It’s annoying, tiresome, a generalization, and basically an invention of people like you. I would never use the word in such context, but I would probably quality as such by your lame definition. It should be noted that I happen to agree with Larry (everybody seems to be doing it, Stu, so I couldn’t resist) on this point. So guess where you can put your “woke” comments? Hint: the sun doesn’t shine there.

      1. Who are “you people” ?

        You seem more upset that a poster on Stu’s blog used the word woke than a competent principal lost her job.

        The fact Mesi made it to principal at a prestigious school like Girls indicates to me she is an outstanding employee.

  4. Your granddaughter graduated cumma sum laude? Still laughing over that one!
    I hate to say it, but those two graduates you cited will probably go on to great success, as they are iconoclasts. It’s a stupid rule, and by breaking it a bright light has been shined on it. Some rules can only be changed by breaking them, as the system enforcing the rules is too difficult to dismantle.

    1. What is so hysertical about my granddaughter’s achievement?
      I am laughing at how you seem to be cheer leading rule breaking. I thought conservatives valued tradition. I agree with Scot.

      1. I was laughing not at her achievement (bravo to her), but your transposition of the Latin (it’s actually summa cum laude). And the rule breaking was innocent excitement, not a felony. And it’s probably a reminder to myself of what a rule-breaker I was as a high school student.

  5. Stu came up with the Perfect Vernacular: “…pulling a Krasner.” Love it!

  6. now that it is an accepted rule that you can do what ever you want when you receive your diploma, watch what happens in the future. it will look like a wedding party being announced at the receptions. each grad trying to top the next. but if you do your dance in less than 500 steps krasner will allow you to get your diploma

      1. Shrouded in perceived injustice. I wonder if PSD will attempt to force Ms. Mesi to publicly apologize.

  7. Of course I meant to say, “Stu”. So, please forgive me. To call you…..Larry…..OMG! Can I ever redeem myself?!?!?!

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