Friday, December 4, 2015

Danged If You Do, Danged If You Don't

The instructors, staff, and pupils of Newmentia extend their best wishes to our neighbors to the southwest, who have been in the news recently, and not portrayed in their best light. And we're not talking about Mexico. No, we are talking about an institution of learning in the same classification as Newmentia.

Let the record show that patrons of our neighbor have been up in arms recently over the sustenance provided for their pupils. This roiling cauldron of discontent bubbled over midweek, when a photo of a mold-infused breadstuff hit the social media. Apparently a pupil posted the evidence after capturing the likeness with his cellular device. Whether transmission occurred during the learning time or during personal time is not known to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. A patron contacted local news channels, and the incident was flashed over the cable wires and satellite signals.

Of course this exposure was discovered by the pupils' 'pal. He called a meeting and informed them, in no uncertain terms, that further postings of such material would result in all not-heaven breaking loose, and consequences for the perpetrators. Of course one of the attendees recorded the 'pal and put it out on social media.

Here's the thing. Many years ago, when Newmentia was still a shining learning mill upon a hill, we had a similar incident. With food. Not with the media. A long-ago prospective member of what would later become the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank bit into his burger and noticed that he needed condiments. He removed the top layer of baked goods at the communal bucket of ketchup, and was ready to pump the spout when he saw it. And brought it back to the Think Tankers for our perusal.

"Is it just me, or is there a green spot on that patty?"

"It's not just you. Yuck! There's M O L D growing on your burger."

Let the record show that the prospective member was of the athletic staff, and actually had TWO burgers on his tray. He took the offending one back into the kitchen area to voice his opinion. Then he returned to the table to eye our food. Shorthy, one of the kitchen crew came out to assess the situation.

"I heard that you got a bad burger."

"Yes. That one I brought in. It had a spot growing on the burger."

"Oh! I thought we pulled all of those out of the bag and threw them away. I'll bring you another burger."

A statement which did nothing to instill our confidence in the kitchen crew. Seeing as how they KNEW about the problem in advance, and chose to dish up the unmarred patties.

"No. Why in the world would I want another one?"

Here's the thing. Nobody took the issue to the media. We were tougher back then. A spot of M O L D was not enough to call for the 'pal's head on a platter. As if HE was the one responsible. It was enough that he knew about it, and investigated the situation to see that it did not happen again. And that was back in the days when the kitchen crew had more leeway in serving up a variety of foodstuffs, and didn't have their hands tied behind their collective backs with strict federal dietary regulations.

Here's the thing. When kids being kids post something on social media, something about a boyfriend stealer needing to back off someone's ex...the parental units are all up in arms. They rush to Newmentia and want the 'pal to DO SOMETHING. Uh huh. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was dragged into one of these wicked webs when a former gal pal of the #1 son had a mom who stirred stuff up. When neither #1 nor Mrs. HM had anything to do with it, and were happily unaware until the poo hit the ventilation system. He because he was being fought over, and Mrs. HM because the poo-stirrer asked, "Aren't you going to do anything to #1's mother? She WORKS here!" Again, with neither #1 nor HM even reading about the squabble, and most certainly not posting a single word.

So...if patrons expect the 'pal to DO SOMETHING when an incident unrelated to the educational institution causes discord among the pupils and their families...why should they be surprised when a 'pal tries to DO SOMETHING about an incident that IS related to the educational institution causes discord among the pupils and their families?

You can't have it both ways. Either social media is a realm of personal expression, or it's an outlet to be monitored and policed by the educational institution.

Just sayin'.

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