I received a phone call from my friend Wynie a couple of weeks ago.  We’ve been talking a great deal about bullies and the school response to the problem.  This time though, it was her daughter who was suspended.  Suspended for smacking another student.  A boy nonetheless. 
Understand that Emily is a cool kid.  Wynie explained that even though she can push the limits, she’s still a good kid.  Here’s what happened:
At school, Emily hugged her friend, Lindsey*, who is a black girl.  Luke* came by and told Emily, “Don’t hug her.  You don’t want to touch her dirty skin.”  So, Emily smacked him.  Back in class, Lindsey was still upset by Luke’s comment so Emily suggested that they head down to the Principal’s office.  Knowing what she did was wrong, she knew that something still had to be done.
The principal heard the story and asked Emily what she had done.  With unwavering confidence, Emily responded with the truth, “I smacked him in the head.”  The principal, somewhat shocked by her candor responded by explaining that she was also in the wrong and he was obligated to address the issue, as well as the derogatory slur made by the boy.  Emily understood that he needed to react and accepted her one day suspension.  
Luke was suspended for 3 days.
Here we are somewhat faced with a moral dilemma.  Can one wrong be justified when dealing with another wrong?  Should Emily be suspended for taking a stand against the completely unacceptable comments that were degrading to Emily’s friend?  In pains me, but I agree with the principal’s decision.  I would like to see Emily get off without a consequence, but she was in the wrong.
Emily has since written a letter to Lindsey, the class and the school taking a stand against bullies and racism.  She explained that she will not tolerate such hatred and disgust to happen in her school.
Everyone has a story.  Emily is going to have a great one to tell!
*Names changed.

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