Many of us are dads who grew young boys through high school through college to productive lives. Boys will be boys. We have dealt with drinking, pot and other craziness. The dreaded senior year is challenging as they hear that they made it to college, and can relax a bit. Their lies the danger we worked on, and this can be tougher for others.
So I have become fast friends with a hispanic maintenance worker at Town & Country. I have been proud that he steered his son through the traps and temptations that exist can exist in East Palo Alto, got his into a great prep school, and he earned several college admissions. Not easy stuff when the norm is so different, but boys will be boys.
Now the story. When mom, dad and daughter left town last Saturday, the son got in an unfortunate circumstance that we all know the better. He was hanging out Saturday evening in Pardee Park with other teens, there was drinking and their was some pot. He did not partake, but he was there. The police arrived, and ticketed the kids.
The damage has been done now, but I was troubled hearing about the lack of engagement from our police department. The young man attempted to represent to the officers that he was merely hanging with his peers - he does not drink or smoke - but he did hang out. They had no interest in hearing from him.
Now the hard work of the parent and the boy is jeopardized. Will the college admit him with an arrest record? Even is this area, we know that a college can work through this.
However, I was left with a sense that if these were our own kids, the officer might have said - "get home", or "get out of here". He might have talked a bit to the kids ask what was going on. I know the "warning" from an officer carries significant force on all of us, and that might have been used, give he never met the kids. However, when the kids are hispanic, does the same approach exist.
So the damage has been done, and regardless of guilt or innocence, a remarkable journey of this young man at risk. In my perfect world, the officer would have taken a bit more time, rather than causing the damage that we know these arrests cause. I know there are other sides, but again, as we look at these kids that might be from other towns, there are some high school seniors in there with college admits that have accomplished amazing things, and this can be damaged perhaps without reversal.
Equally, there is an admonishment to those seniors this year, that it all can be jeopardized if you play outside the rules.