Getting the facts straight on the Europe situation
From the letters appearing in the Summit Daily News lately, it is clear that there are two details that have not been properly explained regarding my conflict with the Summit School District administration.The first, and most important, misconception is that I was attempting to “get off the hook” for what I have done. This could not be further from the truth. I know that it was my decision that caused this, and that if I had not made that poor decision in the first place, I would be in Europe right now. The school did not make me drink, and believe me when I say that I am truly, truly sorry for making that decision. As I stated previously, I never expected to avoid punishment by the administration. In fact, my family and I proposed a number of alternative punishments, all of which would have hurt no one but myself, while at the same time being sufficiently punitive. I was willing to do community service, have restricted freedoms on the trip, even clean bathrooms with a toothbrush all summer and/or whatever else the administration could think up. I did not think others should be punished for my actions, however. I feel it was unjust and draconian to impose this particular punishment, rather than an equivalent punishment that would have punished me and me alone.Secondly, some have accused me of arrogance for claiming that my absence will make it much more difficult for the jazz band to perform well. Under normal circumstances, such a claim would indeed be arrogant. In her tenure at SHS, Ms. Texera has seen students come and go, and the instrumental music program has only gotten stronger. I am no exception to this, and I have no doubt that the jazz band will continue to grow and be even better next year. The problem here is that Ms. Texera selected the pieces we would be playing based upon the assumption that I would be in Europe. The selections we were going to play featured me specifically. With prior notice, Ms. Texera could have changed the jazz band’s repertoire easily and picked pieces that weren’t dependent on my presence. However, on three days’ notice, it placed incredible stress on her. We had spent weeks, even months in some cases, working on these specific tunes, and with a jazz band with many missing members and others who had not even played jazz before, my absence was quite trying, given the circumstances. I am not being egocentric here; I could say the same thing about at least seven other members of the jazz band, many of whom are far more crucial than I. I truly wish the jazz band the best of luck in Europe and hope that Ms. Texera will find a way to allow my band mates to have a successful performance nonetheless.I want the community to know about the administration’s decision and to understand the circumstances surrounding it. I want the community to know that I’m not trying to cast myself as someone who should escape punishment. As someone wrote in response to my original letter, I am not above the law, but I firmly believe that there was more than enough room for all parties involved to be reasonable and come to an agreement that would have punished me as harshly as necessary without penalizing others – an agreement that would have allowed me not only to take responsibility for my actions, but also to fulfill my responsibility to Ms. Texera and my band mates.
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