reader report

Undue stress for St Bede's rowers' team-mates

00:16, Apr 01 2015
 St Bede's rowers
It's not just Jordan Kennedy and Jack Bell who have been affected, says Justine Mangan-Woods.

With all the media attention surrounding the two young men who behaved extremely badly when on the school trip and subsequently their parent's actions, many people have forgotten about the other people that would and have been affected - their team-mates.

These boys were a part of a team and, from my understanding of rowing, a team who would have all put in long hours training, worked hard together, and had one goal and aim: to compete at a national level.

There really is no excuse for the behaviour of Jordan and Jack, but to punish an entire team for the behaviour of two seems harsh to me.

I don't necessarily agree with what their parents did, but who's to say if I was in the same situation with my child I wouldn't do the same. And to every person out there who says they wouldn't go to bat for their child if they did something like this, it's easy enough to say until you are in that situation.

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The backlash on the parents involved, while understandable, is incredibly harsh. The fact that the majority of people now see St Bede's as an elitist school, only for those with money and those from privileged backgrounds, shows what little they know about the school and it's background.

My brother, my cousins, and many friends have been past pupils at St Bede's, a few in recent years, and by no means were we from anything more than hard working-class families.

St Bede's works with families to ensure that every boy from every background is treated the same. As an overall educational institution it's far from elitist.

That's what surprised me about what seemed to be the Rector's immediate decision - to remove the boys from the competing - as his decision would have affected more than just the two boys.

While the two boys definitely need to be held responsible for their actions, and suffer the consequences, as an outsider I could see other ways to deal with this. Ways which may not have caused such a media circus, had the high court involved, caused such a division between the school and the parents, and quite honestly would not have caused such incredible stress for the parents - and the school.

Why couldn't he have separated Jordan and Jack from the rest of the team, preventing them from doing anything other than training and racing with the team. Then when back at school do what was necessary with regard to suitable punishment.

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I've read how these boys should face the consequences. To me, they probably have faced them and a few more:

* Formal warnings from the police, and aviation authorities

* The crushing disappointment of their parents, and families (regardless of what their parents have done to support them, have no doubt that they will face consequences at home for their stupid behaviour)

* Letting down their team-mates

* Letting down their school

* Being ridiculed in the media

* Their parents being publicly harassed, and maligned for standing by their sons - rightly or wrongly

I've always believed that there are three sides to a story, in this case there has become so many more - Jack and Jordan's side; the school's side; the parents' side; the team's side and, oh yes, the media and public's side.

Being an outsider maybe it's easier for me.

With hindsight, I'm sure the boys wouldn't have been so stupid, perhaps the parents' would have reconsidered the legal action, and perhaps the Rector would have taken into account the other students who were part of the team, as I am 100 per cent positive this affected them just as much as the two boys involved, and caused them undue stress as well.