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Sat, Aug. 24

Wiederaenders: Breaking rules sends wrong message

Life is about rules, whether we like it or not.

Oh, maybe it is not life — let’s say society, a law-abiding society.

We have ordinances, guidelines, policies, laws, … rules that we have to live by. Some apply to money, such as paying taxes, while others involve driving, zoning, licenses, safety, decency, and more.

“It’s only a little rule,” someone might say, adding, “and it’s one that I don’t agree with!”

So that person breaks the “little rule”; it may even be their secret way of protesting.

Doesn’t hurt anyone, but at what point does it stop? Where does the person draw the line?

A video on Facebook that has gone viral – 7,122,515 views (as of Friday night) since being posted Tuesday – sets the record straight. It is a video of Gerry Brooks, a principal in Lexington, Kentucky. The author of a book called “Go See the Principal,” Brooks is apparently known for videos that make light of the issues educators face.

The viral video is a bit different though.

This is about the college admissions scandal that has dozens of parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, accused of using their wealth to get their kids into elite universities by cheating — or helping their kids cheat — on standardized tests, bribing coaches and administrators, and more.

So how about those little rules? It is one thing for a parent to drive around construction cones to get to the school drop-off point more quickly; it’s entirely another for a parent to commit fraud or other crimes to help their kids get ahead. Right?

Wrong. Both are wrong.

Brooks says there is no shortage of moms and dads who are willing to bend or ignore school rules to do what they think is best for their child.

How about lies? A parent tells the school their child is sick. “Child comes to school the next day and tells how much fun it was at Disneyland,” a teacher wrote, commenting on Brooks’ video.

Yet, Brooks doesn’t blame parents for wanting the best for their children. But lying? How about committing a crime?

“Everybody’s just so surprised about this (scandal). You know who’s not surprised? Every educator in the whole world. Do you know why? Because this kind of thing happens every day in schools,” Brooks says.

Not good and it could be worse; they could do it in front of their children. They could even explain their “logic” to their kids.

Bending a little rule is not the same as breaking the law, but both send our children the same message: I don’t think that rule applies to me.

And we wonder why some youth grow up to be incorrigible.

Where do you think they got it? Who taught them it’s OK to break the rules?

We did.

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or

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