Professional Educators say “Trauma is good for kids!”

That’s what their actions say, anyway.

Some El Camino High students in Oceanside received the shock of a lifetime. School administrators and officers claimed some of their classmates died in a drunk driving accident, but it was all a hoax that was intended to be a hard lesson.

They’d better be damned glad I didn’t have a kid in that school.

Edited to add:
I’m with Jon Carroll on this one.

The takeaway is: Don’t trust anyone. Grown-ups will lie to you and try to make you feel bad. The world sucks even worse than you thought it did. Guidance counselor Lori Tauber defended the exercise: “They were traumatized, but we wanted them to be traumatized. That’s how they get the message.”

These are professional educators, and they are comfortable with the following pedagogic theory: Trauma is good for kids. It’s an effective teaching tool. Why not teach American literature the same way? Harpoon a real whale and watch it die — “Moby-Dick” brought to life! They’ll remember that.

Maybe they’ll want to join Greenpeace too. Two lessons for the price of one dead whale! And then the “dead” whale could wake up and make a moving speech at assembly.

Are we that alienated from the adolescents in our midst? Do we think that their feelings don’t matter, that almost anything is justified in pursuit of making sure they get a Life Lesson? Are we that cruel? Apparently we are – a majority of the parents in Oceanside thought there was nothing wrong with this little experiment. Shake those kids up a little.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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5 thoughts on “Professional Educators say “Trauma is good for kids!”

  1. Yes, these are the same educators that say home schoolers aren’t introduced to the real dog eat dog world by going to public schools. They need to have peer pressure and bullying to be able to live in the real world. :/

  2. I felt the same way when I read that story. Is there no such thing as a code of ethics among educators? I thought of all the restrictions that have been placed on psychological researchers since the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment. This hoax perpetrated on the students wouldn’t pass muster. It causes one to wonder what exactly the educational background is of these educators if they lack such a basic understanding of ethics or the long-reaching effects of psychological trauma.

    I wonder how they would have handled a “Romeo & Juliet” situation. That is, if one of the observing students was so devastated by the sight of a dead classmate, he or she ran off and committed suicide before learning that it was a hoax, what responsibility would the school officials bear?

  3. I thought the same thing, Alice. And my sister, who is one of those “professional educators,” would probably cheer those asshats on.

    I hadn’t thought of that possibility, Gaelan, but it’s a very good question.

  4. That whole thing was just terrible. Its one thing to scare someone a little bit – but they just went way, way, too far.

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