Teens playing Jews vs. Nazis beer pong is troubling, but adult reaction is more disturbing

A social media photo by Lovett students of cups arranged like a swastika and Star of David in a game of beer pong led to expulsion and suspension.

News broke yesterday about students at a top Atlanta private school playing beer pong, a drinking game in which players toss ping-pong balls into the other team’s cups. If the ball lands in a cup, the opponents down the beer. Teens from the prestigious Lovett School added a troubling wrinkle to the game; they arranged the cups in the shape of a swastika and a Star of David, playing Jews vs. Nazis.

The Lovett School became aware of the game via a photo posted on social media. (Why is it teens cannot resist posting photos of even their dumbest actions?)

According to the AJC, five seniors were suspended and one was expelled.

The story states:

Another student, who hosted the off-campus party with 19 current Lovett School seniors, three alumni and about 10 other students and graduates, was suspended and will have an opportunity to reapply to the school, Peebles said.

Four more seniors were also suspended and two students who appeared to be watching the game were banned from co-curricular activities during the first two weeks of school.

Lovett is a private school with a code of conduct for its students. The code of conduct and the school’s character expectations don’t stop at the school grounds.

In a statement to the AJC’s sister TV station, WSB, Lovett said: “Character education is at the heart of all we do at Lovett, and we deeply appreciate the individuals and organizations across our community who are helping us to continue to learn and grow from this very troubling incident.”

Last night, I read about 300  comments about the incident on Facebook, many of which contended the school had no right to act because the drinking game occurred at a student’s home. Commenters also argued the game itself was harmless, both in its Jews vs. Nazis theme and in the underage drinking.

Here is a sampling of the prevalent sentiment:

Seriously? If it didn’t happen at school it’s nobody’s freakin business.

Exactly. People are afraid of everything nowadays. It’s just beer pong.

Tune in next week when a kindergarten class gets expelled for playing Cowboys and Indians! At home.

I think it’s freaking hilarious, They are making laughs out of what the what world is making war about. As far as them drinking, ok, they shouldn’t be, but I’m sure no one else here had a drink before they were 21.

What is so wrong about it? They were not being racist. They were not antagonizing anybody,

Sick of schools parenting our children. Snowflake factories.

I find this detestable. Underage drinking is illegal (assuming the cups ACTUALLY had alcohol) but it was off campus, not on school hours therefore a parent issue not a school issue. Government overreach.

Let’s consider what these remarks are actually saying:

First, we expect all teens to drink because everybody did it. This helps explain why we have so many teens dying after car accidents in which they or the driver had been drinking. (No, I didn’t drink in high school and neither did my friends. See CDC stats below to show we were not that unusual.)

According to the CDC, when asked about alcohol usage over the past 30 days, 33 percent of teens admitted to drinking, 8 percent drove after drinking and 20 percent got in a car with a driver who had been drinking.

Here are some other CDC statistics:

  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, and cost the U.S. $24 billion in economic costs in 2010.
  • Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.4 More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.
  • On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.
  • In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.

Second, the comments argue schools have no right to censure student behavior beyond their doorsteps. Can we all spell hypocrisy?

Parents increasingly demand schools police their children’s social media usage, even though parents buy their kids the smartphones and allow them 24/7 access to the devices. And it’s the insistence of parents that their kids have their phones with them at all times that has eroded most school policies attempting to ban phones from classrooms.

A parent recently complained to me her child was playing games on her phone during math class. The mother blamed a lax teacher for failing to monitor her daughter and prevent her from sneaking out her phone. I asked the mom why she just didn’t take away her teen’s cellphone. The woman said her daughter “needed her phone for emergencies.”

As one lone commenter noted:

So when your kid commits suicide at home from being bullied at home (online) from his/her peers at school then I assume the school should stay out of it then. Or when your kid’s nude photos get leaked online, I’m assuming yet again the school should stay silent. Sounds about right, but typically parents blame the school for these very same cases. I bet the tune will change when it’s YOUR kid.”

I read all the local stories about teens, some of which are about high school athletes being arrested. And I read all the comments. When those kids are African-American, the tenor of the comments is typically, “Throw the thug out of school.”

I was struck again by the double standards used to judge teen wrongdoing in reviewing the comments about this Lovett incident. As one commenter said: “The same people complaining about Colin Kaepernick kneeling are the ones making excuses about how there’s nothing wrong with what these kids did.”

And, lastly, what reasonable person would compare high school seniors using a Star of David and a swastika as a drinking game motif to young kids playing cowboys and Indians in the back yard? While I agree the teenage brain is a work in progress, I have to believe some of the smart Lovett students at this party realized the Jews vs. Nazis idea was repugnant.

As one commenter said:

People are actually arguing for the kids’ rights to play Nazis vs Jews. Like somehow this is OK. Can anyone add to the end of their sentences that they find this morally reprehensible?

 

 

Reader Comments 0

59 comments
wendybkalman
wendybkalman

For Lovett to claim that character education is at the heart of what they do and yet to have such a significant number of current and former students think it fine to participate in such a "game," tells me they need to take a closer look as to how they are implementing their mission statement as part of the curriculum.

The very beginning of teaching values is the golden rule and empathy. Even kindergartners can be taught to treat others the way they want to be treated, to put themselves in another's place; this extends to how we talk about people when they are not there.


Lovett needs to not only focus on repercussions but ask themselves how their valued students got to such a place to start with, and what they can be doing differently.


Or remove references to character being at the heart of what they do from their mission statement.



Daryl Smith O'Hare
Daryl Smith O'Hare

Re private schools not receiving public funding: Private schools actually receive "diverted" taxes each year as a loophole in Ga Tax Code that allows the public coffers earmarked for public ed to suffer so private schools can receive what would have been public funds. A nut and shell game designed to avoid public school funding and to subsidize private schools Expect more of this!

DMC57
DMC57

Lovett has a Code of Conduct that applies to what students do on AND off campus, during AND outside school hours.  Therefore, they were within their rights to administer whatever discipline they saw fit.
Regarding the "government overreach" comment on Facebook, Lovett is a private school, so there is no government involvement whatsoever.  (If there had been government involvement, the children who were drinking and the parents at whose house this took place would've been arrested.)
Regarding the "sick of schools parenting our children" comment on Facebook, well, if parents won't parent their children, then someone else is going to have to.
Regarding the remainder of the Facebook comments by the supposed "adults" that excused this as just good clean fun, you know, kids will be kids--  really?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

This is for Ed Johnson:


Ed, a poster on another blog responded to my second paragraph in my link, above, with the following words regarding competition vs. cooperation.  I thought you would be interested in "Citizen-of-the-World's" comment, below:


"What you write in your second paragraph reminds of that movie 'I Am' -- I highly recommend it. It is about the power of cooperation as opposed to competition and how people must look beyond their own selfish interests to -- paradoxically -- save themselves." 

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

"News story broke yesterday about teens playing beer pong...."

Stop the presses!  We must tell the world about this new development.


Growing up, I'm sure we did some stupid stuff.  Difference back then was that we would get our butts tore up and then everyone would go about their business.  There wasn't any "news" stories about our shenanigans.

Brave new world.....

ElderSage
ElderSage

It is the responsibility of law enforcement to enforce the law. Anyone allowing underage drinking or buying booze for minors should be jailed. If the kids step off private property they should be jailed. The school has a right to expel students if this behavior is spelled out in the contract with the kid and his parents. Otherwise, the school has no right to get involved. I believe in unfettered rights of free speech, including Kaepernick's right to sit during the national anthem and the KKK's right to march.




readingtwig
readingtwig

@ElderSage  Hate speech is worse than yelling fire in a theater, whish is not allowed. Just think of someone yelling insults at Jesus Christ and see what the reaction would be

alt2AJC
alt2AJC

To partisan Democrat journalists this story demonstrates we live in an irredeemably racist, sexist, homophobic society without merit.

But not to the rest of us.

redweather
redweather

@alt2AJC And by "the rest of us" you mean partisan Republican non-journalists?

alt2AJC
alt2AJC

@redweather

Plus the rest of the voters who gave President Trump a majority in Georgia and 29 other states. 

alt2AJC
alt2AJC

@redweather

That who you're blaming your party's inability to win even one statewide office on?

SeanMcD
SeanMcD

Parents that let their children run wild. Lovett kids are the worst, especially the disrespectful ones that live in Wyngate.

Vicki Bell
Vicki Bell

Re: the misguided comment about "Government overreach" -- this involves a private school where parents and students have agreed to adhere to certain standards as a condition of admission. Those standards are higher than in public schools, where admission is guaranteed if you meet minimal requirements, and supervision is limited to school hours and activities. (And I'm not saying private schools necessarily provide a better education, just that they're different from public schools.)

Theresa Pinilla
Theresa Pinilla

These young people behaved stupidly, documented their behavior, and then it got shared. We cannot know what was in their hearts, we can only pass judgements on their outrageously, egregiously anti-Semitism 'game' of their own invention: It's horrible. It's sickening. More so, is the response of some 'adults' excusing and even justifying it. In top of that, since these were (mostly) under 21,there are some adults who should be charged. Someone purchased alcohol for the purpose of serving it to underage drinkers. Someone owns the house where this occurred and has contributed to the delinquency of these minors. And lastly, if you don't like the rules of your insanely expensive PRIVATE school, there are plenty of public schools available, even for the children of someone who would tolerate such behavior. Then the kids would meet real people who have lived through real horrors and learn why this is so horribly wrong!

Pbae
Pbae

Rich people can get away with anything because they have the money for legal representation (affluenza). The main difference between private schools and public schools is the private schools have better drugs and alcohol.

alt2AJC
alt2AJC

@Pbae 

But also way more two-parent families -- the real difference between the zip codes in question.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@alt2AJC

Hmm.  So, your argument is teens playing Jaws and Nazis beer pong is a consequence of having two-parent families?  What manner of family did you blame for causing the solar eclipse?

Astropig
Astropig

I've signed a fair number of bail bonds for adults that provided alcohol for minors to party with.They fell (generally) into two categories:


1) Parents trying to be their kids best friends.Trying to make their kids the "cool" kids.Trying desperately to make their kids popular with...Future AA members,I guess.


2) Parents that stated emphatically that "kids are going to drink.There's no way to stop them,so I'll let them drink here in the den and at least they are not out driving the car and putting other people at risk". This is the kind of rationalization and self deception that made me pity the poor,pathetic fools.They thought that a little tonsil polish on the patio would satisfy their little moppets taste for adventure and put one over on the cops.They rarely thought that other kids would spill the beans when they went home and heaved their guts up at their own houses.That's how a lot of parents got caught-other parents turned them in and the kids sang like canaries when confronted by the police.


I look back at both groups fondly these days.They helped put my kids through some great schools debt free.(One even started his Masters Program yesterday at GT)


Don't ever remember any Nazi beer drinking games,however.This must be a new thing.

Astropig
Astropig

@alt2AJC @Astropig


(1:43 A.M Saturday morning after any home football game)


Rrrriiiinnnngggggg!


(Astropig)  "Astropig Bail Bonds" (not a real bail bonding company - dramatization)


(Mother from jail lobby) "My son got arrested for underage consumption of alcohol. Can you believe that? All of the crime in the world and they arrest my little Thurston...How do I get him out of this horrible place?" 


(Astropig) " It'll cost you Three hundred and he'll have court in about 30 days"


(Mother-clearly annoyed) " THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!!!!!"


(Astropig) " Nope. Three hundred or call somebody else"


( Mother) "What if I don't HAVE THREE HUNDRED? THEN what?!"


(Astropig) " Little "Thurston" gets to spend a night snuggled up with a guy we call "Ramrod". Ramrod likes daffodils,ballet and smooth jazz"


(Mother-breaking into 300 dollar tears)   "Then come on down and get him out"




God help me,I do miss it sometimes.

Wrecker
Wrecker

@alt2AJC Amazing how the AJC can take any story and interject race into it.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

The parents of students at Lovett School are probably upper-middle-class to wealthy. This reinforces in my mind that spiritual and intellectual understanding are not related to wealth or status. Shameful and morally reprehensible to encourage that game.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Without going into too many details, Lovett had another uncomfortable situation maybe 6 or 7 years ago and I believe they wanted to knock this one away quickly. 


On the larger picture, i would be way upset if my 15 or 16 year old kid was drinking at a private home (who brought the booze?) but even more upset that it appeared to be most of the class (showing that it was not just a couple of kids like when i was in high school).  And the game - clueless at best.  

bu22
bu22

@SouthernHope5  Well it is a private school.  They normally make it clear that things don't stop on the school grounds.  Those are the rules.  The interesting question is whether the school was motivated by the underage drinking or whether the nature of the game was what caused the severe discipline.

nyctraffic
nyctraffic

For those who think Jews have "white privilege," guess again.  Incidents like this one happen way too often---of course they're rarely revealed on social media.

NYTN
NYTN

I surprised people are so shocked.  THIS GAME IS NOT NEW, and has been around for at least 5 years (if you do a Google search, you will see posts and articles about it going back that far).

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

It's the under-age drinking here that seems to bother nearly everyone commenting. But I am really, really disturbed by the casual allusions to the Holocaust as a "game." There seems to be a running anti-semitism among the complaining parents that shows me where the kids got their attitude here.

LMKLaw1
LMKLaw1

Antisemitism at a private school for the children of wealthy white kids? Shocked. Shocked, I tell you. Can't imagine where they got that from.

otherview
otherview

@LMKLaw1 That's got to go down with "any criticism of Israel is ant-Semitic" as an absurd statement.  Insensitive though? Maybe.  I seem to recall many high school students are. The students might be a lot things. Stupid, insensitive, typical, not typical, disrespectful of authority, etc.  Do you think the one's playing  on the Nazi side were ant-Semites and the "Jews" side were victims?  Personally, I think anti-Semitism is too real and too serious for someone to be bandying about such such a charge as if it was meaningless

bu22
bu22

@otherview @LMKLaw1  Yes, there is plenty of anti-Semitism out there, disturbingly prevalent and tolerated among the Democratic Party and seemingly tolerated everywhere in Europe.  This is kids being teenagers.  I remember when my kids were pre-teens, talking about how stupid teenagers were.  Yet there are some adults who can't figure it out.  Lots of teenagers do stupid, insensitive things.

Page Lassiter
Page Lassiter

Thats one of the strengths of running a private a private school..running it with real teeth if necessary.

Trudy Luise
Trudy Luise

Beth Boston Gearhart _ absolutely why we did not opt for private school. We stayed in a mixed district long before the school was considered fashionable to attend. My two were public all the way through high school. Both are on scholarships and one has a full-ride. They know how to deal with ALL types unlike their cousins who attended private school here in town. the comments from one in particular mirror this very issue but in a different vein. J & J have taken the good with the bad and they ugly and have been on the receiving end of not so good things- stuff happens and you address it and move on. It is called life. I wonder if perhaps this is more symptomatic of a lack of parental involvement. Lord knows i still make my kids tow a tight line but allow for more slack, occasionally:()

Trudy Luise
Trudy Luise

no substiton for involvement- shows them they are accountable, among other things

WWTJD
WWTJD

Aristocrats always feel the laws and social norms are for regulating the behavior of the masses, not them.

Kate Maloney
Kate Maloney

Thank you for writing this. I was shaken by the comments, many of which do indeed show some pieces of the fabric of our culture that are ugly (in my opinion and according to my values.) Character matters, and it shows not just in the actors of that story but also in the reactions of the readers.

redweather
redweather

Students need a cell phone for emergencies like Donald Trump needs another Twitter account.

As for Jews vs. Nazis, it takes something that was seriously evil and trivializes it. But I would say the same for Cowboys and Indians. And what about Klansmen versus Freedom Riders? Is there any question that would be beyond the pale?

weetamoe
weetamoe

@redweather @weetamoe " What about them"

Oh, the AJC community embrace of "diversity." Well in my town no cowboys but cops 'n robbers aplenty.  Our history's version of cowboys and indians would have been colonists and indians and Benjamin Church's slaying of squaw sachem  Weetamoe--and--ouch!

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

Deplorable people posting their deplorable thoughts. Nothing new or surprising.

Jeff Frantal
Jeff Frantal

Once again...play stupid games, win stupid prizes.