The recent appearance of Rihanna at Barrington High School is an example of how our school administrators are failing our communities. As an area resident and taxpayer and a part-time university teacher, I am well situated to comment.
• Allowing an arrogant individual like Rihanna, who brags openly about being a "rock star," onto school premises and having a "school official" announce that an autographed CD would be given to a student, apparently as compensation for her lateness, puts public imprimatur on this individual and is a form of endorsement. If the school is going to place this imprimatur on anyone, it should be a true force for good such as an educator, scientist or doctor helping others. Learning to keep one's ego in check is an important part of growing up, and the schools need to make positive examples of those who do so.
• Even if one is going to recognize an artist, they could do far better than this one, who has as her claims to fame her soft porn lyrics, pot consumption and obscene gyrations and her continuing in a relationship with an abusive "boyfriend." Yes, this is a value judgment, and I make no apologies for saying that it is one which should be made and strongly communicated by school authorities.
• Even if it made sense to have her appear at the school, the lateness and lack of any apology is inexcusable, and provides yet another life lesson for young people, if only their elders would teach it.
It's fine to discuss what is needed to improve our schools. Topics such as finance, teacher accountability and instructional methods are certainly important, but must be complemented by common sense lessons. They must not be undermined by star-struck administrators such as those involved in this episode.
Martin B. Robins
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