Today I am teaching high school. Today, some jackoff in the high school thought it would be funny to put a bag of rotten milk (yes, our milk comes in bags here) in another kid's locker for him to discover. I don't know how, and I don't know why, but the milk, WELL past it's prime, was discovered and aerosolized somewhere in or around the school and the smell has persisted for HOURS. The sickly-sweet-sour smell of rotten, solidified milk. Smashed into the carpet, thrown out on the sidewalk, tracked by dozens of careless feet through every classroom, rotten milk.
This is EXACTLY how bullying works. You think you're picking on one dumb kid. You think it's funny. Then you find yourself staring down the barrel of inescapable stench that YOU CAUSED. Think about this. Every practical joke you played. Every blind eye you turned on the other kids that were being unkind... guess who gets to enjoy the aftermath? We all do.
We teach our kids to be kind to others. We model this behavior. We call them right down on the carpet if we catch them not being kind. Cause if we don't, the next thing you know they're shoving rotten milk in That One Kid's locker and then when That One Kid comes back in two years and shoots everybody in his class, everybody will say, "but why?"
Milk. That's why. The rotten stench of milk. For days. Lingering. Milk on top of all the other practical jokes and mean names and unkind words and just plain heartless behavior. There's always milk behind the why. Just because the smell isn't always there doesn't mean the repercussions won't be.
Even if there's real mental illness, which there might be. Even if they have good parents, which they usually don't. Even if they're smart, or dumb or ugly, or weird... look back in the lives of all of these murderers who are taking innocent lives and you will find milk. Some people find inspiration in the milk and go on to create beautiful things. Lucky for us, only a few of them come back with their rifles. Lucky only a few just kill themselves. But it's a few too many.
Just because it's not your locker. Just because you didn't put the milk there. Just because you weren't involved... you're still smelling the milk. You can't get away from it. Your friends can't. They'll wear the stench home on their clothing.
Actions have consequences. Spilled rotten milk is worth crying over when it's used as a weapon. When it's used to communicate rejection and hate. It's not funny. It's not kind. It's deadly.
We have to see the milk for what it really is, the first symptom of a lethal condition.
Kids will always be kids. That's why we're here, to remind them, to chastise them, not to make excuses for their behavior or justify their poor choices. We're here to help them learn from the spilled milk before it becomes spilled blood.
After all, we're all in this together.