When you were a little kid, who did you look up to? Most people claim it was their parents, and for the most part that isn’t an incorrect statement. Our parents are huge influences in our lives, yet there are other people that we also look up to. Celebrities are a huge part of our lives, and so are professional athletes. Most kids want to play some sort of sport when they grow up, and it only takes one look at a little league team to see that kids will try to emulate the pros.
So how does this impact school safety issues? Just look at what most pro athletes are getting into these days? Also, take a look at the results that have come from these actions. There have been a lot of examples of athletes getting into trouble, and then getting away with it like it was no big deal. Think of Donte Stallworth and the other pros that have been cheating and using drugs for years now, and have no consequences attached to it.
In the case of Stallworth he was punished, but not like any other person would be. He killed a man, and he got thirty days in jail, and some probation and a fine. What does that tell kids? If you are famous, you can kill someone and get away with it. That is a terrible message to be sending to kids, but unfortunately the reality of the world is that you are going to play favorites from time to time. Also, if you can get popular sentiment to cause people to believe that punishment is not warranted, that you are going to be just fine.
Think about how kids could act around other kids if they realize this. You could have kids pulling guns on other kids, or just getting into fights, and thinking that they can get away with it if people like them enough. They might think that doing steroids is OK because athletes do it and they got away with it. Older kids might not think anything of drinking, or drinking and driving. Stallworth is the latest case, but he is not the only one.
Leonard Little, and Dany Heatley also have been in drunk driving accidents that have killed others. How many athletes do drugs, and get away with it? Mike Vick just got caught drinking after being told that he really should stay clean. These people are humans, and yes they deserve to live life, but they are also in the public eye. Kids look up to them, and no matter what schools do, or what parents do, kids will be kids.
Kids are impressionable, and high schoolers are especially impressionable. They want to be like the pros, and feel like they can compete better if they act like the pros. Even if the pros become cons, it still doesn’t change the fact that kids are watching them, and trying to emulate the behavior they see, even if it isn’t safe, or even socially acceptable.