By now, we’ve all heard about what happened at Desert Vista High School in the Phoenix suburb of Ahwatukee (if you haven’t heard, click here).
Many people were outraged, some defended the stunt as a dumb prank, some even called it “Freedom of Speech.”
Many folks in the community have been waiting for the official announcement.
To date, PhxSoul.com and the public do not know the final punishments that the Desert Vista girls received. We’ve heard some rumors but nothing has been confirmed.
In a February 8 email to PhxSoul.com, Jill Hanks, who is Tempe Union High School District’s Executive Director of Community Relations wrote, “Federal law prohibits us from sharing information pertaining to student discipline. Those records are confidential under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).”
In other words, if you’re expecting the Tempe Union High School District to tell us what happened to the girls, do not hold your breath.
On February 4, Kenneth Baca, superintendent of the Tempe Union High School District, wrote an op-ed for azcentral.com about the Desert Vista controversy.
He talked about his disappointment in the girls and he said he did not want to sweep this incident under the rug. However, his op-ed contradicts itself because he did not reveal his district’s decision on the girls.
Frankly, I think FERPA hurts the girls more than it protects them.
Because we don’t know how they were reprimanded, the collective healing process for the community can’t begin.
Interest in this story will eventually die out and the story will be swept under the rug.
But the Desert Vista girls won’t be able to hide from what they did. Their names have been publicized, reputations shattered and future educational/career opportunities will be affected. Employers will run a quick Google search and each girl’s name will be linked to this story.
And because of FERPA, the story will never be told about how the girls gained forgiveness from their classmates and the community.
That’s a lifetime of punishment for a few minutes of terrible judgment.
Written by Tremaine Jasper, Owner/Managing Editor of PhxSoul.com. Please feel free to share your thoughts!