A chilling comparison
Recently I did some research on the Columbine school shooting for a psychology class, and the parallels between Littleton, Colo., and Princeton, Ill., were chilling. When I read the research by Mai and Alpert regarding the rigid stereotypes of masculinity at Columbine High School, and their huge division between the “jock culture” and the “nerds,” I felt very concerned about our kids in Princeton.
There is no doubt that Princeton is a “sports community.” If you’re not an athlete and you are male, you have two choices: to join the “nerds” or to join the “thugs.” Either way you are going to be ridiculed. The “nerds” are called effeminate and the thugs are called pot heads. The truth is we have just as many “jocks” in Princeton who are drinking or doing drugs, but it tends to be swept under the rug “for the good of the team.”
Our adolescent boys are struggling to find their way as men by watching their fathers. And, it all starts out on the Zearing Park soccer field with our pre-school students. Time and time again I have witnessed parents screaming at small children to be more aggressive, to get in there, to try harder. These parents are teaching our kids that the most important thing in life is to be a winner, at any cost.
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