The Oligarchy: Administrators Behind a Wall
By Cruz Santana
Everyone remembers junior high with either with fond nostalgia or with disdain. Our overall analysis is somewhat polarizing. Whether you were the cheerleader or the misfit, you were aware of bullying. You knew what it was because you’d grown up with it all around.
Abuse at the hands of others could not go on. The Post-Millennial rise of Generation Z blew the doors wide open on all things tech. Where there were once rumors of wrong doing, hazing, and suicide, now there was glowing evidence painted across backlit, 5-inch screens. Videoed proof sat on replay in full view of Gen-Zed.
They heard the outcry, assembled, and condemned bullying. They weren’t going to stand for it anymore.
They were effective. States enacted legislation protecting children from the evil of their peers. Everyone cheered. Gen-Z successfully revolted against the status quo using their wits, their camera phones, and social media. They were armed, packing 10-megapixel iThings, and they weren’t afraid to use them.
They’re tasked with a massive job, aren’t they? They police vicious, hormonal, and impulsive adolescents. They do their best to maintain order within crowded lunchrooms. They watch gymnasiums (and other places of mass student congregation), ensuring every kid, everywhere, feels respected and understood.
We almost forget they do this job from on high.
A Stoic Divider is Erected
Perhaps they adopt a stoic, standoffish personality to protect their emotional state. Others may argue they’ve become desensitized due to years of frequent exposure.
Free of empathy and intuition, they fail to see the errors in some of the new policies they implement. Teenagers are some of the most intelligent, resourceful human beings on Earth. They learn to play the game.
I recently found out what school administrators weigh when discerning bully from wounded. It’s no more than a numbers game, a popularity contest of another sort.
If a student files a complaint against another, the accused is given an opportunity to respond to the allegations with a written statement. After which, they are tasked with producing eyewitnesses to corroborate their defense.
The complainant is brought in second. He or she is given the same witness-producing task. If they cannot produce an equal, or greater, number of witnesses to match the other party’s Dream Team, the claim is dismissed.
Some administrators will go so far as to punish the initiator.
The Wall is Reinforced
This is the actual policy in Texas. Administrators in this fine state are at the center of a faux-democracy within the educational system. The point behind it all is to appear to be sympathetic to the world playing out around them. By standing safely behind the testimony of teenagers (the popular ones, anyway) they can avoid the unnecessary mess of hurt feelings.
The preponderance of the evidence, and no the truth, matters.
It’s a comfortable life being lived behind this proverbial wall. In Texas, principals and vice principals can make upwards of six figures. Without ever doing any real work (like checking the security feeds) they can breeze by for 20, maybe 30 years not including their post-retirement pension. Nothing like a ride on the state’s gravy train!
Students are blithely unaware of all of this they’ve been trained by their devices not to look up at the world around them. They’ve shifted their focus to funny cat memes, shares, and their popularity on Facebook.
The revolution was televised. It will not be again.
By now, you’re probably thinking, “We outnumber them! They should go! We should complain!” It could work. I liken that unlikely notion to winning the lottery.
People who are well liked by the masses form oligarchies. We trusted them, once. They peddled their new policies and we bought them. They won’t be easily toppled down.
In theory, these control freaks would placate and calm the media (glowing boxes, too). They’d spin the story, and in the end, we’d be the ones apologizing. It’s the nature of the beast we created. They’ve figured us out and are fine.
To question their process is to question the movement, entire. Where would we be, then?
Administrators are tasked with a difficult job. They babysit our children and are forced to mediate between them. When all efforts to watch from afar fail, and the administration becomes involved, they choose to abide by an unreasonable and untrustworthy system to label kids the liar and the victim.
By relying heavily on their trusted objective frame of mind, they fail to see what’s happening right under them. A school’s governing body of three or four calls the shots. The buck begins and ends with them.
Their attitudes will not change. They are who they are. Parents are the key to helping their kids navigate the oligarchy. Listen to them an take their side. You never know when you’ll be the only one who does.
Does this happen often? It does. You may be wondering why tech-savvy teens aren’t capturing it all on YouTube. The answer? Cell phones aren’t allowed in schools.
About the Author
Cruz Santana is a single mother of seven and a professional writer-for-hire and editor in San Antonio, TX, with a background in science and medicine.
She recently made the switch from ghostwriting to writing for the web full-time. Follow her journey into this new world of writing on The Freelance Dance’s blog, My Sweet November.
She loves helping fellow freelancers kick their day jobs to take their hustles full-time.