A principal set out to find a creative way to introduce himself to the students at his new assignment, Everett High School in Everett, Mass. I was not prepared for what I would hear next. This 15-year veteran administrator made a video that was played for the students. It opened with him walking the halls of the empty school dressed as the Arnold Schwarzenegger character, the Terminator.
Erick Naumann goes on to introduce himself as the “Naumannator.” The video is downright disturbing but, what’s more disturbing is that after outraged parents called for action, the “Naumannator” and his lawyer met the school committee in a closed meeting during the night. Really?
After the meeting Superintendent Frederick Foresteire announced that Naumann made a “poor” decision, but is a “good leader” and “will not” be fired. Really? Kids get detention for less than that. The superintendent also said there would be another meeting (closed, I’m sure) to decide what, if any punishment Naumann should face. Really? What happened to the outraged parents? How did they take this news?
I guess I’m the only one who finds this solution unacceptable. After all, some would say, Naumann did apologize, and was supported by many students and parents. Maybe, I’m just too sensitive. It was just a month ago a “Naumannator” with real intentions walked the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School until the halls were empty in Newton, Conn., remember?
Really. When will we get that violence breeds violence? When will we understand that not all children can be exposed to continual violence and grow up to be non-violent adults. Why is this man’s apology worth more than the children in his charge? When will adults wake up and be adults. How long will we bargain with our ‘s physical safety?
What happens when a student or an adult mimics the “Naumannator” and starts shooting? Will an apology be enough? How long will we choose the poor choices of adults over the emotional damage we are inflicting on our children? Have people of faith considered how we have offered up our children’s spiritual wellbeing so that adults who may have never read the Constitution can buy more automatic assault weapons?
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship.