An 18 year old called Jacob Dowdle has been expelled from school after shoving a creme pie in a teachers face. The expulsion came 2 days later after a video of the incident was posted online. The police have also questioned Dowdle about the incident. Dowdle threw a pie in a teacher’s face and was expelled (on the last day of classes) but will be allowed to sit his A-levels. I’d have thought a fairly normal response from a school to a student being an ass (and I checked with the teenager – she agrees with me on this and, by definition, this is weird because she’s a teenager) but a bunch of people have started a petition because “boys will be boys” and holding them accountable is just mean.
Granted, Dowdle’s attack isn’t the worst thing a student can do to a teacher but it is being minimised and dismissed as irrelevant. We’re supposed to pretend that Dowdle’s behaviour is normal because he’s a “kid” and kids do stupid thing. Well, kids do do stupid things. Problem is, Dowdle isn’t a kid – at 18 years old he’s an adult. He has the right to vote, to drive and to drink alcohol and yet we think he shouldn’t be held accountable for harming his teacher. Dowdle made a choice and he needs to face the consequences of that decision. He isn’t being sent to prison for 20 years or banned from taking his A levels. He’s not being allowed to return to a school where he assaulted a teacher – not banned for life from having an education. Banning him from a building is hardly going to ruin his life.
The “boys will be boys” rhetoric is very dangerous. It is used constantly to minimise inappropriate behaviour in young boys. Instead of raising our boys to be thoughtful, considerate and to understand that there are consequences to their actions, we tell them that it was just a “prank” and that everyone will get over it. Well, I don’t want to get over it. I don’t want to live in a culture where an 18 year old is allowed to vote but not held accountable for his actions. I don’t want my children to attend schools where the teachers are having to worry about whether or not a male student will behave like a jackass. I want my children to attend schools where sexual violence is non-existent and bullying is dealt with appropriately.
I’m sick to death of the “boys will be boys” bullshit and I am so fucking bored of this idea that boys aren’t responsible for their own behaviour. That men can’t be held responsible for their actions. Ched Evans doesn’t think he’s a rapist because he’s spent his whole life being told that he can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants whenever he wants. His fans believe they have the right to be as abusive and nasty as they want because they are men and men get to be assholes. Elliot Rodger killed 6 people because he believed he had the right to kill them. And, men rape and abuse women every single day because they believe they have the right. Dowdle’s action are part of the spectrum of male violence and he is being forgiven for his actions just as every other man is.
This school has made it very clear to their students that they will not tolerate the “boys will be boys” bullshit. Frankly, I’d like to write them a thank you letter.
<thank you to Karen Ingala Smith for tweeting this article out and raising her concerns this morning>