I don't know what the two of these things have in common, and I can't - for the life of me - understand why the punishment for bringing a sex toy to school, would be to show students a Ted Talk regarding War Crimes in an Iraqi Prison.

Nonetheless, it happened, and parents in Paw Paw are NOT happy that some of their kids were exposed to the video as punishment.

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The story was originally posted by WWMT:

"Several students were reportedly given the opportunity to reduce their 10-day suspension by attending a meeting, after being caught with a sex toy in the high school.
During the meeting, a nearly 25-minute Ted Talk called 'The Psychology of Evil' showed violent images of detainees being tortured, abused, and sexually assaulted in the Abu Ghraib Prison."

First of all, kids bringing a sex toy to school is just high school kids getting into things they're not supposed to. It happens, and the punishment, when caught, should at least be somewhat relevant to the crime. In this case, it sounds like a 10-day suspension would have been just fine.

But if a teacher came to me, and said I could reduce my punishment by just watching a 30-minute video, OF COURSE I'd be all over it. But, I'd at least hope it was somewhat relevant.

And what they showed is NOT relevant to the crime at all.

"The Psychology of Evil" is a particularly heavy Ted Talk put on by Philip Zimbardo, who focused on the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. The facility was used by Saddam Hussein, and then the United States to hold Political Prisoners during the War in Iraq until 2014.

A Warning at the beginning of the Ted Talk Clearly States that there will be graphic images and content in his presentation. Yet, students at Paw Paw High School were asked to watch it as a form of punishment. Ted Talk
A Warning at the beginning of the Ted Talk Clearly States that there will be graphic images and content in his presentation. Yet, students at Paw Paw High School were asked to watch it as a form of punishment.
Ted Talk

If you'd really like to see the Ted Talk, You Can see it here, but a reminder, it IS very graphic, and unsettling to see some of the images included... which makes it even MORE curious as to WHY it was shown to some high school kids who just got up to shenanigans that SO many other high school students might get into.

Nonetheless, Paw Paw School District said in a statement that it was part of a "restorative discipline process," but then did admit that...

"...the details of the objectionable images included in the Ted Talk were not shared in advance with those who were not able to attend, and for that, we have reached out and apologized to the parents of the students involved."

That still doesn't excuse the fact, though, that it DID happen. There's no going back from that. Those kids SAW that video and watched it without other professionals involved, or in the room to help comprehend what they might be seeing in a constructive way... if there even IS a constructive way to explain to these students WHY they were told to watch this.

And WHAT are they trying to "restore" in this supposed "Restorative Discipline Process?

A special meeting was held on Sunday with the school board, and concerned parents, and members of the community, during which MANY people voiced their opinions on the matter.

One person asked, "Why weren't other professionals involved in this situation," while another said, "If [Students] have problems or issues, what are we doing to help them? Is that video we used helping or making it worse?"

The district released a statement to WWMT that called the punishment a...

"... carefully constructed lesson geared toward understanding how good people can be transformed into perpetrators of immoral behavior if no one is willing to stand up for what is right."

That seems a bit extreme to go from "Bringing a sex toy to school" to "War Crimes in an Iraqi Prison."

It was also noted in the special meeting that Superintendent Rick Reo waited as long as 4 days to disclose details of the investigation to school board members. Under Title Nine guidelines, the investigation in matters of this nature should have been disclosed to board members immediately.

The School Board took all of the information from Sunday's meeting and will continue to investigate. As of now, no administrative action has been taken.

Meanwhile, those students (and their parents) are stuck with trying to figure out why they were shown such violent things for what was likely a stupid prank.

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