Words fail me

…but they don’t fail the mother of a teenager collaterally damaged by her schoolmates and an unspeakably clueless teacher egged on by the repulsive Mr. Limbaugh.  Just read it [HT a member of a private listserv], and if you’re smart, you’ll stay away from children and small animals for a while after you do.

If you need home repair counsel to fix a fist-sized hole in sheetrock, ask in comments.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

14 thoughts on “Words fail me”

  1. Sheetrock is easy to fix. This tangled mess isn’t.

    Is this a case of a loose lipped volunteer comitting a breach of confidentiality or was Beantown Girl the one who illadvisedly let slip her personal business? If it is the former the school is responsible morally and legally. The school administration needs to take decisive action to apply whatever remedies there might be and avoid this kind of thing in the future.

    All that aside it seems to me that all of the offending parties here are juvinile fools. While the teenaged girls may be horrid they can at least plead being actual chidren. Rush Linbaugh and even the teacher who praises him have no such excuse. Rush was pulling the same cheap crap way back when he called Chelsey Clinton (was she 13 then?) “The White House Dog”. This is the vile kind of coward the “Conservative Base” holds up as an icon of their values. This is the kind of slime the GOP leaders bow down to.

    I was born during the McCarthy hearings so I’ve never known a time when the GOP was not the party of devisive/hate trash politics. But now they have finally devolved into the party of nothing but trash. They have nothing of value to bring to the table so it’s all trash all the time.

  2. Apropos of everything beneath the surface:

    Rush really does look and act like the platonic form for a bully.
    Hollywood could do no better…
    Maybe that’s why he gets paid so much: he is perfectly idealized.

  3. Yes Beantown girl’s plight is horrible and the bullies at her school deserve to be called on the carpet and the school should be quaking for the HIPPA (and ERPA if that is the more relevant statute) violations for which it may be liable. But, I continue to be outraged by Limbaugh’s implication (for which he has not apologized) that the use of BCP’s to prevent pregnancy ipso facto means that one engaging in sex for “recreational” purposes is a “slut” and a “prostitute”. Both Ms. Fluke and Beantown mom offer examples of BCPs being used as hormone therapy for medical conditions and it is helpful to understanding how this one medication is singled out for different treatment by insurers than other maintenance prescription medication. However it is not sufficient to require insurance coverage for BCPs when used for anything but birth control, as that still leaves open the question of why exclude its use in birth control altogether? Many other prescription meds that are used to enable recreation are covered by insurance, including asthma inhalers and similar maintenance medications, why should BCP’s be any different?

  4. Well, I don’t know all the facts, but maybe they should sue. The kid has already been traumatized, so I think she should be compensated (depending on the details).

  5. Beantown Mom doesn’t want to sue the school — it’s not their fault. She should sue Rush Limbaugh. From the looks of things at her update today, she’s starting to build a case. Here’s what the school principle told her:

    It would be disingenuous of us to think that what happened to your daughter was not related to the topics being discussed in the national media last week.

    This is on Rush, and he should pay.

    1. Sorry, principal, not principle. This whole thing has me so mad I can’t see straight. If that was one of my granddaughters…..

    2. Well, I don’t know all the facts and I couldn’t get back on that page earlier, but, it seems to me this student’s privacy was not protected. The resulting bad behavior was *entirely* foreseeable. So, maybe the school could be liable.

      And I’m wondering, if the parents don’t want to sue, why bother with the post? To protest that other people raise their children badly? But they don’t actually want to *do* anything about it? Sorry but I don’t get it.

      1. Of course, not suing is different that not doing anything about it. Sounds like they’re working with the school and the school is taking it seriously so far.

      2. Legal actions are long drawn out and very public affairs. They don’t bring peace into the lives of people who are forced to endure them. There is a reason it is called a “trial”.

        It is easy to understand why a family wouldn’t want to drag their already traumatized daughter through all of that. Money as they say, isn’t everything. Courts are a blunt instrument and are always a last resort. The real value here of a possibility of a law suite is the threat of it as a motivator to find a more paletable path to justice.

    3. If it were my daughter, while I might not be interested in suing the school, I think I would want the prima facie HIPPA violation to be investigated. Unless beantown girl herself told somebody what the pills were, somebody deserves a long heart-to-heart talk with a Federal prosecutor. This is not a civil violation we’re talking about here.

  6. If the doctor who was in charge of dispensing the medications failed to observe appropriate confidentiality norms, he should be disciplined by the medical licensing authorities in his state. Even though he was acting in loco parentis rather than as a doctor, he should know better than to let anyone know what anyone else is taking. But the real problem her is social attitudes that don’t belong in the 21st century. Here’s the bottom line: Medicines that are taken to prevent pregnancy can also be taken for other reasons, and it’s no one’s business but the patient, her doctor, and (in this case, since they have a good relationship) her parents what she’s taking and why. When and if she decides to have sex, she’ll also be protected against unwanted pregnancy, and at 16, no one should want to get pregnant. So bonus! People need to pay attention to their own lives and let others do the same.

  7. As a former adolescent, all I can say is that I learned long ago that there are stupid adolescents and stupid parents. There is no way to fully shield yourself from them. The reality of American culture is harsh. As a parent of two high schoolers, I deeply sympathize with the girl and her mom. But this stuff can happen anywhere – witness the suicide of the girl in South Hadley, Mass. a few years ago, after similar bullying. That’s the home of Hampshire College, next to Amherst and Northampton. You couldn’t find too many more progressive areas in the country.

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