You’ve probably heard about a New Hampshire prep school making headlines for something other than academics. Owen Labrie, 19, was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl as part of a disgusting senior tradition — and if that doesn’t shock you, the number of people who came to watch the courtroom drama should.
The fact that this court had a “standing-room-only” section to accommodate all the people trying to pile in is mind-blowing. Then again, we live in a society that thrives on being entertained by a media circus.
Do people not realize this isn’t an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and deals with real individuals who have to deal with this for the rest of their lives? Can they not show a little more respect to this minor who had to take the stand and relive the details of the event in question?
As a quick recap, Owen Labrie, a then-senior at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, is being accused of raping a freshman girl on a rooftop as part of a “Senior Salute.” From the sound of things — including admission from Owen himself — this unspoken tradition of upperclassmen trying to get younger students’ virginities is considered a game among male graduating hopefuls. Labrie even told police in an affidavit that the school isn’t doing enough to stop the tradition.
So let me get this straight: Owen, who admitted trying to be number one in the Senior Salute, now wants the school to do something about it?
Obviously I don’t have all the answers and can only hope the truth comes out. Between the texts and finger-pointing from the attorneys, I could probably keep up with a Kardashian better than I could this case. While evidence and trying to make a winning argument are all part of our justice system, what needs reexamining are the amount of observers who cause a bigger distraction.
As a parent, I’m finding a hard time understanding why this is OK. Don’t get me wrong, I know play-by-play narrations are great selling points, but come on, we’re dealing with a minor here. It would take everything in my being to keep my emotions intact as they would have to throw me in contempt for trying to kick out everyone who doesn’t need to be there.
On top of that, who the heck are these former classmates who are filling the seats? Are they previous upperclassmen who participated in the Senior Salute and show support to Owen?
Between the school being aware of this tradition and doing nothing, Owen deflecting, and all of these onlookers waiting to see how the chips fall, it really makes me a bit sick to my stomach. At least for me, there’s a big difference between entertainment made for reality television and reality that people sadly find entertaining.