Teen's Bullying by Coach and Rival's Mother at Elite Private School Nearly Turns Fatal
Tonya Harding? If you are 20, you don't know the name. But if you are older, you might remember when champion level figure skater Tonya Harding and her ex, Jeff Gillooly, conspired with Shawn Eckhardt and Shane Stant to attack her skating competitor Nancy Kerrigan at a practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The Harding incident boosted figure skating's TV ratings and put the sport on the map. And there was the story of Wanda Holloway, jailed for trying to hire a hit man to kill the mother of her daughter's cheerleading rival. That infamous mom's behavior was crafted into a few films, one a humorous spoof with Holly Hunter as the mom.
In the case of Tonya Harding and the cheerleader mom, was this cupidity, jealousy and a rapacious spirit? Or was it just plain old "the devil made me do it" wickedness? Those stories ended in a form of justice being exacted because the individuals involved received punishment and national vilification; the public enjoyed the opportunity to feel superior to these middle class folks with lower class attitudes. The potential killers served jail time and then moved on with their lives, one hopes wiser, contrite individuals looking to distance themselves from those youthful and hot-headed flights of insanity.
But what happens when the players in such circumstances are not middle class? What happens when they come from a background of money and privilege in the upper classes or are vying to make it into a world of privilege hoping to get into pricey colleges that can write their ticket to fly a streamlined and cushy life after networking with the next titans of business and entrepreneurship or better yet, marrying one of them? Do wickedness, cupidity and jealousy also abound in a cultural setting of an elite school? We're referring to a school made up of individuals whose parents are willing to spend $32,000 (before tuition and fees) a year or if their parents cannot afford such, are willing to go into debt to help provide a finer than public school education for their sons or daughters.
Or is there a kind of noblesse oblige in this environment? Aren't such school environments one big happy family? You would think they would be! The elite New Haven, Connecticut Hopkins School boasts small class sizes and an excellent, cutting edge curriculum tailored toward students maintaining a competitive advantage with other elite sleep away high schools (like Andover, etc.). Such elite private schools are the stepping stones to Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford. And what about all that privilege flowing through many students' veins? What about the happiness and self-satisfaction of all who qualified to get in and by attending receive one of the finest educations money can buy for a day school (great college preparatory school as listed by Forbes 2010)? The students, faculty and deans should be unified in the purpose of establishing theirs and their school's greatness: one big happy family! Right?Continued on the next page