Last June, 16-year-old Hailey Burns walked out of her home in Charlotte, leaving behind a distraught and frantic family who searched for her for the last 12 months.
Hailey, who was found alive this week in Georgia in the home of 31-year-old Michael Wysolovski, a man she allegedly met online, was among the 465,676 cases of missing children reported to the FBI in 2016, a number that has decreased significantly over the past 10 years. There were 662,228 reported cases in 2006.
The vast majority of missing children are runaways, said Nancy McBride, the executive director of Florida Outreach at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). In 2016, NCMEC worked with law enforcement and families on more than 20,500 cases of missing young people — 90% were cases of runaways.
One of the disturbing aspects in cases of missing kids, experts say, is the number who are lured away through technology.
Found one year later:
North Carolina teen missing for a year found alive in Georgia
At the time of her disappearance, Hailey’s family said they had tried to limit their daughter’s use of computers after they discovered she’d been talking to strangers online. Hailey, now 17, did not even have a cellphone, they said, but they thought she was still communicating with someone and had left to meet with him.
“(Technology) has great benefits and some potential risks,” McBride said. “It’s important to stay plugged into their lives.”
David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said parents should work on having a strong relationship with their children. “When relationships deteriorate with kids . . . dangers really come into play,” he said.
When the child’s relationship with their parents isn’t strong, their communication breaks down and that makes the child vulnerable to online predators, McBride said.
A good relationship is important for communication, which is important for developing trust, she said. “If something is going on, it’s important for parents to be able to tell their kids: ‘If someone approaches you and makes you feel uncomfortable, you can come to me.’ Then they can work to prevent a situation.”
She doesn’t think cutting the child off from social media is the answer. “Kids are going to do it anyway,” she said.
“Talk it out with them,” she said. “Get your kids to show them where they like to go (online). Talk to them about how the dangers in the virtual world can translate into the real world.”
Technology and social media have their protective elements, too, Finkelhor said.
Abductions are rare, he said, but if such cases do come up, technology can be helpful. For instance, cellphones can be used to help locate children, he noted. And McBride said NCMEC works with law enforcement to harness the power of social media tools such as Twitter to get more eyes looking out for missing persons.
However, both agree the best safeguard is a strong home environment.
“The best thing parents can do is to have a good relationship with their kids,” Finkelhor said.
Otto Warmbier, the American college student imprisoned and tortured by North Korea who died this week after being returned to his parents in a coma, was active in his campus Jewish community.
Yet Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League chief among them, were all but silent on Warmbier’s ordeal. Asks Tablet’s Liel Liebovitz: Why?
Liebovitz points out that Warmbier had aroused not sympathy but angry attacks from the social-justice left: “When the young college student was arrested last year, the regressive left’s flagships, from Salon to the blessedly defunct Nightly Show, gleefully mocked Warmbier, arguing that white privilege was the real reason for his predicament.”
Such bigotry “is toxic to all Americans, but it’s particularly hazardous to Jews, whose suffering is too often explained away these days as an acceptable byproduct of excessive power and influence.” All of which makes Jewish groups’ “silence” on Warmbier’s murder “shameful.”
The Link Between Detached Dads and
How much do fathers matter to the personal development of their daughters? Scientists studying families have long suspected that domestic instability and insufficient fathering predispose girls to risky sexual behavior, but there was no hard evidence for this view.
A study published in the journal Developmental Psychology in May used an ingenious research design to get some answers. Danielle DelPriore and Bruce Ellis of the University of Utah, working with Gabriel Schlomer of the State University of New York at Albany, teased
apart the effects of fathers within families.
They studied 101 pairs of adult sisters from families that had either remained intact or had broken up by the time the younger sister turned 14. In each family the sisters were distant enough from each other in age—at least four years—that they would have had different experiences of their father, especially if he had separated from the family before the younger one reached maturity.
This research design made it possible to control for variables that might interfere with clear conclusions about the effects of fathering. Both sisters randomly received half their genes from the mother, half from the father, so inherited genes couldn’t explain systematic
differences. Sibling order could matter: As teens, younger sisters could for some reason be more risk-prone. But that was the point of including intact families. If the sisters differed in sexual risk-taking only in the disrupted families, it would be possible to zero in on how the difference arose.
The researchers used retrospective questionnaires to probe parenting and sexual experiences that the women—who were between 18 and 36 at the time of the study—recalled from high school. Sexual risk-taking included promiscuity, unprotected sex and sex while intoxicated.
Older and younger sisters reported similar levels of mothering quality, whether their families were intact or disrupted.
But the most striking finding was in older sisters with a large age gap in the disrupted families. The father’s behavior, for better or worse, usually affected the older sister much more than her younger sibling. If these older sisters communicated well with their fathers and felt close to them, they experienced much more parental monitoring and hung out far less with sexually risk-prone peers. But this kind of fathering had much less effect on the younger sisters, many of whom didn’t have enough contact with their father for him to make much of a difference.
These factors explained the older sisters’ behavior. “The prolonged presence of a warm and engaged father can buffer girls against early, high-risk sex,” Dr. DelPriore said. This doesn’t mean that divorced fathers can’t provide quality care. “A silver lining,” she adds, “is that what dad does seems to matter more than parental separation.” In other words, a divorce may be less harmful for a girl than more years with a bad dad.
The growing field of evolutionary child psychology adds interesting context to these findings. Biologists find that organisms in unstable environments grow up faster and start reproducing earlier than those in stable ones. Theoretically, in a stable environment you can take more time growing into your reproductive activities, focusing on longterm quality rather than on getting an early start. Conversely, in an unstable situation, it might “pay” (in Darwinian terms) to begin reproducing earlier, since in those girls’ worlds, a good man is hard to find.
This doesn’t rule out more familiar psychological explanations, but in a child’s development, family instability—which, again, is something different from divorce—might provide a catalyst setting off a psychological change and risky behavior.
As Dr. DelPriore phrased the question, “What is it that dad does that shields a daughter from sexual risk?” Dr. Ellis phrased the answer: “It’s all about dosage of exposure to dads; the bigger the dose, the more fathering matters—for better and for worse.”
‘Wonder Woman’ wins by being feminist without bashing men
Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman” continues to break records as the most successful female-led superhero action movie ever — with New York packing theaters along with the rest of the country.
So what, exactly, is winning everyone over?
What is it about this film that seems to be bringing together both men and women from all backgrounds and critics in praise?
The film’s well made, sure, with dazzling special effects and vivid scenes (see the 3-D version if you can) that create a striking contrast between worlds: from a breathtaking, female-only island where Amazons live in a fiercely athletic and secluded harmony, to the merciless front lines of World War I, where man’s inhumanity to man wrought great destruction and suffering.
The film features Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, whose dark eyes sparkle with mischief, mirth and, yes, wonder, and whose compassion and determination infuse her character with a depth beyond Hollywood’s standard spirited heroines’.
At New York City theaters this week, many girls and women said they turned out because the character of Wonder Woman has been a personal inspiration in their lives, and they wanted to support the film’s director, Patty Jenkins.
“It’s nice to see a woman director given a big-budget action film, not just a rom-com,” said Mariel Conway, 30, media manager for Discovery Studios TV network, who was visiting New York from Los Angeles and attended a daytime showing at a Kips Bay theater.
Conway said that in tapping a female director, Warner Bros. is not, in Conway’s view, pandering to women but choosing the individual whom they believe to be best skilled to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen, because the company “is staking its future on the DC Comics universe.”
But the film was also striking, some noted, for what was missing: the man-hating grievance politics that sometimes accompanies a projection of female empowerment.
“It’s not a negative film, not against men, but shows women and men working together,” said Elizabeth Liumbruno, 30, an architect from Forest Hills after an evening screening in Union Square.
“Her leadership style seemed more collaborative than the typical superhero’s,” said Ellie Bastani, 33, of Morningside Heights, an assistant dean at Columbia University. “It was more about working together . . . than one person being this hero.”
“Usually you see females in supporting roles or just as sex symbols [in action films], so it’s really important for little girls to see a female in the lead,” said Bhumika Dyal, 20, a student at FIT from Ozone Park, Queens.
The film resonated with women and girls of all ages. “She did what she believed and didn’t just follow her mom,” said Chelsea Brooks, 8, of the Lower East Side, adding: “She wasn’t actually fighting, because she did want to help.”
“I loved her determination, her strength, and her compassion,” said Josie Lawrence, a retiree in Murray Hill. “I thought, ‘Yay!’ when she crossed No Man’s Land.” Lawrence added that the film is a reminder that “being a hero is not male or female.”
The film’s workmanlike plot provides sufficient momentum to carry the viewer through charming scenes in which our heroine encounters a man for the first time (Chris Pine, who plays British spy Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s partner in the fight to save humankind), tries on dresses in early-20th-century London and uses both her superpowers and what appears to be krav maga to fight German spies and soldiers.
But what really distinguishes the story is its heroine’s idealism, and its suggestion that the good and evil that exist in human nature cross all divides, including gender (one of the film’s chief antagonists, the sociopathic scientist Dr. Poison, is a female).
“You don’t think I wish I could tell you it’s one bad guy to blame?” Steve Trevor pleads with Wonder Woman toward the end of the movie. “We are all to blame.”
We’re facing a time when political polarization threatens civil discourse, dehumanization of one side by another cuts both ways and culture wars have recently brought millions of Americans, women prominently among them, to the streets in protest.
Perhaps the resurrection of “Wonder Woman” — an icon of female strength whose righteous anger is driven, and tempered, by compassion and love for the world — is offering little girls and women a role model for cooperative leadership, and a positive vision of empowerment they’re not seeing enough of in the real world.
In the course of raising three children with his wife, Melissa, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska saw a “coming-of-age crisis” among the nation’s youth, which he sets out to fix with his new book, “The Vanishing American Adult” (St. Martin’s). In this excerpt from the book, he looks at how the concept of work has changed over the generations and why kids today need to experience and embrace “work pain” in order to fully grow up …
My grandmother Elda Krebs Sasse was a giant, though she stood barely 4 feet, 11 inches and probably never tipped the scales at a full 100 pounds. She never raised her voice — except to break into what her six sisters called her infectious “cackle-laughing” — yet her personality always found a way to dominate the room.
One of nine kids born to a second-generation immigrant family in windy, rural Diller, Neb. (population 327), Grandma grew up poor, working the family farm during the Great Depression. It was at home — and thus work — that she met my grandfather, who was hired as a farm boy by her dad in the 1930s. They were married in May 1941, him at age 22 and her 21.
Their first leased home had no indoor plumbing or running water. Their plot of land was north of town on Commercial Road, where they planned to start their own corn and bean farm. Just as they were settling down, World War II started up, and Grandpa was on his way to Europe. He would serve for over three years, with stops in Germany and England, as a wartime “mayor” of a regional factory town in the latter.
Grandma had just given birth to their first baby, my uncle Roger. With Elmer in Europe, she had no choice but to run the farm they had just leased. Though she’d grown up on a farm, she’d never driven a tractor. Fall was coming, and no one else was coming to do the work. So she jerry-rigged a way to attach the baby’s bassinet to the side of the lumbering old John Deere as she taught herself to harvest.
Elda regarded this fact as 100 percent uninteresting. “It was simply what needed to be done.” I know this story not because she ever thought to offer it but because I was always interrogating my grandparents for war stories as a child.
There was a matter-of-factness about them that, in fact, wasn’t extraordinary for much of their generation. This nose-to-the-grindstone, get-it-done attitude can still be heard today in conversations about work and callings with many aging members of the Greatest Generation I encounter.
Americans long regarded work differently than the rest of the world, but that difference is slipping away. Our national forebears had an almost compulsive preference for productivity over passivity.
“There is probably no people on earth with whom business constitutes pleasure, and industry amusement, in an equal degree with the inhabitants of the United States of America,” observed the Englishman Francis Grund in the mid-1830s. “Active occupation is not only the principal source of their happiness and the foundation of their national greatness, but they are absolutely wretched without it.”
The Puritan work ethic — and its cousins “Yankee ingenuity” and later “rugged individualism,” which would be truly achieved only when America had worked through its original sin of slavery — helped form a shared identity for the American people. It was an almost liturgical touchstone that all Americans, across geography, race, gender and denomination, came to esteem together.
Our ancestors’ suspicion of leisure endured until the dawn of the 20th century, when the Industrial Revolution delivered vast wealth and efficiencies along with a growing middle class that didn’t need to work as hard to subsist. The change wasn’t just that material surplus can breed materialism and sloth. It is also that material abundance and economies of scale, despite all their benefits, also often make our work less meaningful and more disconnected and robotic. Industrial life is fundamentally different from the neighborly work of the village.
Matthew Crawford wrote about this in his 2009 book “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” arguing that a cultural shift away from teaching “the trades” — the sort of skilled labor people go to vocational school or community college to learn — has made people more passive and dependent, less aware of the satisfaction of completing any manual task well. “What ordinary people once made, they now buy; and what they once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to repair, whose expert fix often involves replacing an entire system because some minute component has failed.” Our global systems of production have radically reduced the prices of almost everything, but they have also come at the cost of promoting a new mentality that everything is disposable.
“If the modern personality is being reorganized on a predicate of passive consumption,” Crawford writes, “this is bound to affect our political culture.” It’s also bound to erode Americans’ desire and ability to work hard, to atrophy our drive toward larger, common projects.
In the summer of 2016, the hashtag #firstsevenjobs began trending on Twitter. People from all walks of life started listing and celebrating their first seven jobs: “Assembly-line worker; dishwasher; truck driver; editor; think-tank fellow; author; professor.” Another: “Burger King cashier; waitress at Poppin’ Fresh Pies; filing clerk; cold caller for a stock broker; banker; director of credit; CFO.”
I am a “first jobs” nerd. I ask friends and strangers, candidates interviewing for jobs and random Nebraskans at sporting events: What was your first job? What was the first hard thing you completed? What is the single hardest thing you’ve ever done?
My first seven jobs were:
· Bean walker
· Lemonade sales
· Stadium pop sales
· Corn detasseler
· Bike buyer-seller
· Roguing (corn, again)
· Lifeguard/swim lesson
Most kids who have detasseled will tell you it’s the hardest job they’ve ever done. I remember days when I’d come inside in the afternoon, fall asleep and sleep straight through until the next morning when the alarm went off at 4:30 again. But, despite the suffering, the money was great for a 13-year-old: minimum wage plus a retroactive bonus of 15 cents an hour if you never missed a day.
Melissa and I think it’s important for our kids to learn how to suffer. Some might hear that phrase as unloving but it is actually the opposite. Neither our children nor your children will grow up to be free, independent, self-respecting adults if we hand them everything without the expectation of something in return.
Our friend helped us find a place where an earthy old rancher and his wife and three grown children and a new grandbaby lived and worked. We left her with little advice other than to make us proud by working hard, to ask for coaching and to never let her overseers hear her complain.
March in Nebraska is calving season. That’s when heifers give birth. It’s one of the busiest times of a rancher’s year — and a perfect time for a young girl to learn the ropes and add some genuine value.
Once she settled in, she would send me regular text messages about what she had done that day. Because many of her texts were funny, I began to tweet some of them out (my Twitter account is @bensasse) with #FromTheRanch. One of the recurring lessons was that calving is dirty, smelly and wet work.
Got an orphaned heifer to take her whole bottle. (Also got tons of nose slime & snot on my jeans.)
My day: Learned to coil barbwire; backed trailer w/ 4wheeler; & dropped 2 cows for slaughter.
To the cows we left for slaughter in Wausa I said: ‘We are done feeding you. Now it’s your turn to feed us.’
As the month wore on, my impromptu #FromTheRanch tweets attracted attention. As I traveled Nebraska over the next couple months, just about everyone I met wanted to talk about my daughter’s experiences on the ranch.
Parents wanted to know how they could make their kids suffer, too. I found this unexpected but repeated questioning strangely comforting. Parent after parent wanted advice: How could their kid get a similar wake-up-call experience?
The huddles of these anxious parents convinced me that there is a deep desire for a broader conversation about the cultural challenges of passing a meaningful work ethic on to the rising generation.
Many of our young people remain overachievers, of course. In his 2014 book “Excellent Sheep,” retiring Yale professor William Deresiewicz describes students at America’s elite schools as “smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost.”
He suggests that although many adolescents can fill page after page of a résumé, they have “little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”
So much of our culture works against this intentional embrace of work.
In our effort to develop our kids’ talents, to provide them with a set of extracurricular experiences even more impressive than our own to help them stand out from the rest of the college-bound crowd, many of us might be unintentionally displacing lifelong “eulogy virtues” in favor of mere “résumé virtues.”
Yet, unwittingly, so much of our culture works against this intentional embrace of work. Soon after my retweets about Corrie’s time at the ranch appeared, multiple lawyers contacted me to let me know that we had probably violated labor laws by allowing our 14-year-old to work on that cattle ranch.
My wife and I hadn’t thought for a moment that we might be running afoul of any Department of Labor edicts and mandates — nor had the ranchers or their grown children who have worked with cattle for decades. But upon further digging, it turns out that some existing state and federal laws make it very difficult for teens to develop good work habits and the beginner skills needed in the marketplace.
In effect, the laws exist to do everything possible to prevent 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds from working, whether it’s limiting shifts to four hours or capping a teen’s work week at three nonconsecutive days. Government policies presume the centrality — and almost exclusivity — of schooling in the upbringing of our adolescents.
These well-meaning rules can thus unhelpfully exacerbate the challenge of intentional parenting by foreclosing the options available to parents and kids who aim to build character and hone their self-discipline through productive work experiences. Please do not misunderstand: I’m not in favor of repealing child-labor laws. But the older American ethic — of teaching kids why good work rather than the absence of work will make them happy — must be recovered in order to serve our kids better.
Samurai swords, axes and air guns are among the 2,579 weapons seized from schools in England and Wales, Freedom of Information requests have shown.
Press Association analysis of data from 32 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales said the weapons had been found in two years to March 2017.
Police chiefs said there had been a “worrying” increase in young people carrying knives.
There are about 25,850 schools in England and Wales.
Heads said children’s safety was their top priority and that schools worked closely with police to protect pupils.
In 2016-17 alone, 1,369 weapons were found – a rise of almost 20% on the previous year.
A fifth of the overall incidents related to knives or swords.
Other weapons confiscated included at least 26 guns, including air guns and an imitation firearm.
More unusual seizures included a police baton, a rolling pin, a can of beer and a 15in (38cm) metal rod.
At least 47 children below the age of 10 – the age at which someone can be prosecuted – were found with weapons.
This included three five-year-olds, one of whom was caught with a knife, while another was found with a “missile” – typically a brick or a rock.
The Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police were among the forces to respond to the survey.
Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock, the National Police Chiefs Council lead for knife crime, said: “Carrying a weapon of any kind in schools is not an issue for a school to deal with alone; police and partners will always be willing to work with them and take appropriate action.
“We have recently seen an increase in young people carrying knives, and this is worrying.
“We are responding to this trend by targeting those who carry them illegally and working with retailers to reduce the sale of knives to under-age people, through nationally co-ordinated operations.
“Police involvement in schools, whether it be officers delivering talks and interactive sessions or based in schools themselves as part of the Safer Schools Partnership, helps us to educate young people and explain why carrying a weapon illegally is never acceptable.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools work closely with the police to protect and educate their pupils, and in some cases police officers are stationed in schools.
“Where appropriate, schools conduct searches and use metal detectors, and they implement robust disciplinary procedures against anyone found in possession of a weapon.”
The figures come amid a crackdown on knife crime in schools by some forces.
Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Police announced officers would be working with schools to highlight the potential consequences of carrying a knife.
It follows the case of Ann Maguire, who was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in April 2014 by a 15-year-old pupil.
The following year, teacher Vincent Uzomah was seriously injured when he was stabbed at Dixons Kings Academy in Bradford by a racist pupil.
If you’re looking for something to get needlessly angry about this week, may I suggest salad names?
That’s what got Bonnie Tsui in a tizzy last week in the New York Times after she saw an “Asian salad” on a menu and felt micro-aggressed by the micro greens. She writes that the “Greek salad has some integrity” and can be found in Greece, but the Asian salad is a wholly American creation.
Six hundred words in, Tsui asks, “So what’s my problem with Asian salad?” The next line is not, as you may imagine, “I have too much time on my hands.”
Tsui also asks, “Am I taking this too seriously?” Uh, yes, ma’am, you are taking the name of a dish that exists in chain restaurants far too seriously.
That’s the nature of our current “everything is offensive” cultural moment. The week before that piece appeared, the music festival Coachella spawned dozens of think pieces, as it does every year, on whether various outfits at the show constituted “cultural appropriation.”
A girl who had posted a photo of herself in a Native American headdress actually felt forced to issue a public apology.
In a world where such a thing as “festival wear” exists (and the many emails I get from fashion houses trying to sell the ridiculous style to me suggests that it does), it’s not surprising that people may take things too far.
Then again, while teenage girls are shamed for such things on the internet, Elizabeth Warren literally, actually appropriated Native American heritage for herself, and benefited from this appropriation — yet remains a liberal star.
Culture is fluid, especially in a country like America. But what is American culture? It has long been a collection of other cultures. Some pieces of those cultures get co-opted, and others get discarded.
Yes, we take beautiful things from elsewhere without necessarily knowing the full weight of their significance. But it should be taken more as a sign of appreciation than appropriation. When Beyoncé wears a henna tattoo, she’s not discounting India’s rich history or proclaiming herself Indian; she’s just saying this is a pretty henna tattoo and I like it on my hands.
Everything we wear and eat began somewhere. Americans should consider if they still want the country to be a melting pot or if we’re going to go down this segregated, “everything is appropriation” path.
Critics are quick to make assumptions in judging cultural appropriators. Jessica Andrews in Teen Vogue, for example, urged people to avoid the “cultural appropriating epidemic at Coachella.” Andrews wrote, “For South Asian women, bindis are a cultural symbol that represents the third eye, a sacred site of wisdom and spiritual development. For some Coachella attendees, it’s just a pretty forehead accessory.”
Of course, Andrews has no way of knowing what the Coachella attendee with a bindi is thinking. Maybe she was raised in South Asia. Maybe she is South Asian.
When Kylie Jenner displayed cornrows in her hair, “Hunger Games” star Amandla Stenberg criticized her in a tweet for appropriating “black features and culture” but failing “to use ur position of power to help black Americans” and “directing attention towards ur wigs instead of [toward] police brutality or racism.”
So if Jenner were also using her celebrity to speak out, say, for #BlackLivesMatter, her white-girl cornrows would be OK? Is someone going to eventually write a manual to keep track of all this?
It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. In Tsui’s salad piece, she writes that “the casual racism of the Asian salad stems from the idea of the exotic — who is and isn’t American is caught up wholesale in its creation.” The joke, of course, is if someone presented this salad, with soy sauce, ginger and sesame, as an “American salad,” that would be cultural appropriation, too.
How dare we use traditionally Asian ingredients without at least a nod to the culture they came from.
I came to America as a child, born in a city that has since been renamed, and in a country that no longer exists. Even when the Soviet Union was around, my Jewish family wasn’t considered Russian or Ukrainian or Belarussian, despite having lived in those countries for generations.
Yet in America, I’m shorthanded to “Russian.” This doesn’t cause an existential crisis for me, and it doesn’t detract from my actual identity in any way. If you want to eat pelmeni (Russian meat dumplings) and have your kids play with matryoshkas (Russian nesting dolls), that’s fine by me.
Oh, and no one in Russia has ever heard of “Russian salad dressing.”
However, our survey of college and university security directors and police chiefs shows that few have had this training. Two reasons were given: Administrators often do not want to pay for the training or in some cases bar campus security/police from participating in training to avoid what they perceived to be a “militaristic campus atmosphere”.
2. College administrators have no training in security or police operations and as a result micromanage security operations on their campuses. This is problematic because of the obvious delay it causes in response time. In addition, when a college or university has a police department, administrative micromanagement can violate state law regarding obstruction of justice.
3. A proper security audit is vitally important to campus security. However, our survey of security directors / police chiefs indicates that most college administrators will not allow these assessments to be done out of fear of liability exposure and the chance the audit would require changes in management systems.
4. Threat assessment as a science has existed in the United States since the early 1940s. Predication and prevention of violence is a critical aspect of campus security and one that, in SERAPH’s experience, seriously is lacking on higher-education campuses. All Resident Assistants, security / police and department administrators should be trained to identify violent behavior in students, staff and visitors.
A lack of systematic monitoring of people on campus contributes to crime.
5. An emergency plan is only as good as the data in it and the ability of key personnel to use it effectively.
Training is important for the effective management of an emergency by key personnel. You cannot ask untrained people to do what trained people do.
Student thuggery against non-leftist viewpoints is in the news again. Agitators at Claremont McKenna College, Middlebury College, and the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses have used threats, brute force and sometimes criminal violence over the past two months in efforts to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos, Charles Murray, Ann Coulter and me from speaking. As commencement season approaches, expect “traumatized” students to try to disinvite any remotely conservative speaker, an effort already under way at Notre Dame with regard to Vice President Mike Pence.
This soft totalitarianism is routinely misdiagnosed as primarily a psychological disorder. Young “snowflakes,” the thinking goes, have been overprotected by helicopter parents, and now are unprepared for the trivial conflicts of ordinary life.
“The Coddling of the American Mind,” a 2015 article in the Atlantic, was the most influential treatment of the psychological explanation. The movement to penalize certain ideas is “largely about emotional well-being,” argued Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Jonathan Haidt of New York University. The authors took activists’ claims of psychological injury at face value and proposed that freshmen orientations teach students cognitive behavioral therapy so as to preserve their mental health in the face of differing opinions.
But if risk-averse child-rearing is the source of the problem, why aren’t heterosexual white male students demanding “safe spaces”? They had the same kind of parents as the outraged young women who claim to be under lethal assault from the patriarchy. And they are the targets of a pervasive discourse that portrays them as the root of all evil. Unlike any other group on a college campus, they are stigmatized with impunity, blamed for everything from “rape culture” to racial oppression.
Campus intolerance is at root not a psychological phenomenon but an ideological one. At its center is a worldview that sees Western culture as endemically racist and sexist. The overriding goal of the educational establishment is to teach young people within the ever-growing list of official victim classifications to view themselves as existentially oppressed. One outcome of that teaching is the forceful silencing of contrarian speech.
At UC Berkeley, the Division of Equity and Inclusion has hung banners throughout campus reminding students of their place within the ruthlessly competitive hierarchy of victimhood. One depicts a black woman and a Hispanic man urging fellow students to “create an environment where people other than yourself can exist.” That’s not meant as hyperbole. Students have been led to believe they are at personal risk from circumambient bigotry. After the February riots at Berkeley against Mr. Yiannopoulos, a columnist in the student newspaper justified his participation in the anarchy: “I can only fight tooth and nail for the right to exist.” Another opined that physical attacks against supporters of Mr. Yiannopoulos and President Trump were “not acts of violence. They were acts of self-defense.”
Such maudlin pleas for self-preservation are typical. An editorial in the Wellesley College student newspaper last week defended “shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others.”
Offending “rhetoric” frequently includes the greatest works of Western civilization. In November 2015, a Columbia sophomore announced on Facebook that his “health and life” were threatened by a Core Curriculum course taught by a white professor. The comment thread exploded with sympathetic rage: “The majority of why?te [sic] students taking [Contemporary Civilization] and on this campus never have to be consistently aware of their identities as white ppl while sitting in CC reading racist, patriarchal texts taught by white professors who most likely are unaware of the various forms of impact that CC texts have on people of color.”
Another sophomore fulminated: “Many of these texts INSPIRED THE RACISM THAT I’M FORCED TO LIVE WITH DAILY, and to expect, or even suggest, that that doesn’t matter, is [obscenity] belittling, insulting, and WAY OUT OF [obscenity] LINE.” Those “racist” texts include works by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Rousseau and Mill.
Many observers dismiss such ignorant tantrums as a phase that will end once the “snowflakes” encounter the real world. But the graduates of the academic victimology complex are remaking the world in their image. The assumption of inevitable discrimination against women and minorities plagues every nonacademic institution today, resulting in hiring and promotion based on sex and race at the expense of merit.
Seemingly effete academic concepts enter the mainstream at an ever-quickening pace. A December 2016 report on policing from the federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services includes a section on “intersectionality”—the campus-spawned notion that individuals who can check off multiple victim boxes experience exponentially higher and more complex levels of life-threatening oppression than lower-status single-category victims.
Faculty and campus administrators must start defending the Enlightenment legacy of reason and civil debate. But even if dissenting thought were welcome on college campuses, the ideology of victimhood would still wreak havoc on American society and civil harmony. The silencing of speech is a massive problem, but it is a symptom of an even more profound distortion of reality.
Ms. Mac Donald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The War on Cops” (Encounter, 2016).
An internal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the elite Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school found a four-decade pattern of abuse, including a dozen former teachers who sexually molested students, at least one case of rape and a catalogue of the “deeply disturbing experiences” of two dozen students.
“The detailed content of this report is devastating to read,” the board of trustees at the blueblood Connecticut boarding school said in a letter to its community Thursday. “One can only have the greatest sympathy and deepest concern for the survivors. The conduct of these adults violated the foundation of our community: the sacred trust between students and the adults charged with their care.”
The board ordered the investigation following allegations of abuse in the 1980s and, more recently, an article by the The Boston Globe last year describing a number of alleged incidents. It follows a series of accusations in recent years of alleged sexual abuse at such prestigious private academies as St. George’s School in Rhode Island, and Horace Mann and Poly Prep in New York City.
Choate, located in Wallingford, Conn., includes President John F. Kennedy and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. among its alumni.
The 48-page report, released by the Choate board of trustees, found that none of the teachers’ actions, including “intimate kissing” and “intimate touching,” was reported to the police. In some cases, teachers confronted with evidence of their behavior were allowed to resign and, in some instances, received letters of recommendations from administrators.
In a cover letter accompanying the report, the board offered its “deepest apologies” and said it set up a fund to provide therapy for the victims, particularly those who might experience “additional stress and anxiety” as a result of the release of the report.
The investigation, which involved examining letters and school records and first-hand accounts of victims, dates back to the 1960s through the tenure of four headmasters.
“Certain Choate graduates described themselves as having been flattered, at the time, by attention the received from faculty or staff, but told us they later recognized that the conduct had been abusive,” the report said. “Other graduates told us of contact that they recognized as abusive at the time, including forced or coerced intercourse, as well as other incidents of unwanted contact that led students to feel betrayed by faculty or staff they had trusted and admired.”
The report singles out 12 teachers by name in laying out the allegations. Five of them have died. The New York Times, which covered the report extensively on its front page Friday, said it tried to contact the remaining seven Thursday evening, but none responded. Some of the seven addressed the allegations to investigators.
In one case, a Spanish teacher was terminated after he was accused of molesting a 15-year-old female student and raping a 17-year-old girl in a swimming pool during a school trip to Costa Rica in 1999. According to contemporaneous accounts, one of the students said she and the teacher were in the pool, when he “told her he and his wife were separated (and said,) ‘I have these problems. I am a man.’” He then, according to the students, began touching her intimately, removed his own shorts and forcibly engaged in sex, with other students nearby.
Investigators said the teacher, questioned by them last month, “acknowledged drinking with the students at the swimming pool that evening, but he denied engaging in any sexual misconduct.”
The report noted the administration’s response to report of incidents at the time varied widely. “When a faculty member was a long-term and admired teacher, action sometimes came more slowly,” the report found. “On at least one occasion, a faculty member remained until his voluntary retirement, some 10 years after a student reported an incident of sexual misconduct.”
The report delved into school files and found cases where reports by students of sexual molestation were apparently ignored outright by the administration.
One case involved a popular teacher, now deceased, who taught Latin, Greek and English and was a housemaster at Choate for 33 years. Three former students reported incidents of sexual molestation, the investigation found, including one member of the class of 1963 who wrote to the school administrators in 1987.
He was particularly upset because the school received accolades and a memorial upon the teacher’s death. “To many he was larger than life, a hero. I know now he was a dangerous man,” wrote the former the student, not identified by name but described as major donor.
“The activity that disturbs me much more, though, was his fondness for giving little boys backrubs in his bedroom, complete with sweet smelling lotions,” he wrote. “I know because I was there.”
Among the other cases:
• A teacher was allowed to finish the school year, including the winter and spring terms, even though a student and his parents reported the teacher made inappropriate advances toward him that had been rejected.
• A female student reported that one professor, who was the husband of a faculty member and served as an adviser to students, repeatedly kissed female students without their permission and asked one 15-year-old girl to go away with him for a weekend to have sex.
• A male English teacher who taught and coached at the school in the 1980s regularly hosted gatherings at his apartment where he served tea spiked with rum. A 16-year-old girl told investigators that the teacher would take her off campus repeatedly for dinner and drinks and engaged in sex with her on students trips. She alleged the relationship continued when she was at college when he became “increasingly threatening, and eventually physically abuse, including stalking her at her college dorm.” Investigators said the man refused, through his lawyer, to talk to them.