Prostitution at Grimsley High: The Week, 06/10/13

Dr. Joe GuarinoA news article reported this last week an incident involving prostitution occurring at Grimsley High School in Greensboro.  Three young teen students were involved.  One local editorialist openly questioned how this could possibly happen. 

Now, it would be difficult for us to attribute the incident to the fact that the Guilford County Schools now assign pornographic reading materials to students.  However, it is entirely plausible to blame such an incident on the corrosive cultural, legal and political changes that have occurred over the last half-century.  After all, we reap what has been previously sown.

Redistricting Testimony

Legislative redistricting in the state of North Carolina is the subject of a court trial that received testimony over the past week from Congressman Mel Watt and former Greensboro Councilwoman Goldie Wells.  The thrust of their testimony?  That the Republicans had packed too many Democratic voters and African-Americans into too few districts.  But the big message they were trying to impart was that African-American candidates no longer need this kind of assistance to get elected.  It is fascinating to note that the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized by Congress as recently as 2006. Funny, but I do not recall either Watt or Wells taking a stand against the reauthorization at that time.  The bottom line for them appears to be to elect liberal Democrats– and not necessarily to elect African-Americans.

Robocalls on the County Budget

The Guilford Board of County Commissioners had its budget hearing Thursday night.  It was reported that, during the run-up to the meeting, School Superintendent Mo Green had recorded and disseminated a robocall urging recipients to contact commissioners in support of a big budget increase for the school system.  Of course, we cannot recall his ever having done this when Democrats controlled the board– even when they had held his budget constant.  Green probably should be terminated for this robocall stunt; but he likely will be protected by the “non-partisan” local school board.

Report on 401(k) for County Employees

The News and Record had a report this week highlighting the fact that county employees’ 401(k) retirement program is at risk of being eliminated with the new budget.  This article is a great example of how media bias shapes the perception of issues.  Nowhere was it reported that county employees have access to other retirement plans including the state pension system; a 457 plan; and, of course, Social Security.  If readers knew of the lavish retirement benefits to which these employees have access, their opinion on the 401(k) issue might be a bit different.

The city seems to do nothing right

Observing the actions of the city of Greensboro and its elected council members is an act of masochism:

1. The city engages in a brazen abuse of its eminent domain powers by taking over the old Cascade Saloon for purposes of economic development. 

2. Mayor Perkins and Councilman Kee trumpet the Greensboro Aquatic Center as a huge success, implicitly denouncing those who opposed it– even though the center operates at a massive annual operating deficit; and even though the local swim community has been shut out of adequate practice time. 

3. Council members Perkins, Johnson, Kee, Matheny and Wilkins vote to extend a sweetheart deal to Skip Alston to redevelop an East Greensboro shopping center.  They did this even though Alston is a key boss in the powerful Simkins PAC, from whom many of them will be seeking an endorsement in the upcoming fall elections.

4. The coordinated city/media campaign on behalf of the Greensboro Performing Arts Center prominently celebrates the contributions pledged by several local Melderec-aligned foundations– even though they were already known to be supporters.  

5. And the council is laying the groundwork to extend quasi-permanent annual subsidies to the Civil Rights Museum despite the issues we have discussed here previously.

In the Sunday paper, local journalists ask whether our city’s poor national economic rankings even matter.  The fact is that most employers who know the truth about Greensboro’s local politics would never choose to come here.  And another unfortunate reality is that the future here for citizens– and for our kids– is not exactly bright.  Our leadership is the problem.

Trudy Wade’s Landfill Bill

The local paper has had a field day attempting to link Senator Trudy Wade’s landfill bill to a surreptitious effort to reopen the White Street Landfill.  A more defensible explanation exists.  Perhaps Ms. Wade, during the White Street episode, became aware that major problems exist in the state law that regulates landfill permitting.   These provisions unfortunately create enormous barriers to establishing and using landfills in the state of North Carolina. And perhaps she is trying to fix these provisions.  She should be thanked instead of being made the object of a smear campaign.

Culture war on the church

The local paper carried a wire service story regarding a single woman who taught at a Catholic school in the Midwest.  She became pregnant through artificial insemination, and the school terminated her because she had rebelled against church teaching.  A federal court awarded her damages.  The article did not explain the legal basis of the court decision.  But one possible culprit– the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which was passed when the Democrats had a filibuster-proof supermajority in the U.S. Senate.  (There was likely Republican support also at that time.) 

Another adverse effect should be mentioned.  Laws such as these necessitate the mainstreaming of pregnant females in public schools.  Good intentions doubtless spurred the passing of such laws; but the net effect tends to be the breakdown of the family.  This type of legislation was highly misguided. 

The media celebrates when the moral teachings of the church– and ultimately, religious liberty– are snuffed out by the government.  But they tend to ignore other stories that do not comport with their agenda. For instance, few of us heard about the recent difficulties passing gay marriage in the state of Illinois.

Obamacare lawsuit

A number of Obamacare-related lawsuits are moving through the courts– ever so slowly.  One of these was filed by the state of Oklahoma.  Why?  The Affordable Care Act does not authorize the federal government to enforce the employer mandate if there is no state-based insurance exchange.  Yet, the Obama administration is laying the groundwork to enforce the employer mandate in those states without their own exchanges.  Over the last week, the Cato Institute, National Review and the Daily Haymaker have called for the individual states to join the state of Oklahoma with its lawsuit.

I agree that the North Carolina General Assembly and the McCrory administration should take action to join this suit as soon as possible.

Dr. Joe Guarino is the Guardian’s senior columnist.

25 Responses to Prostitution at Grimsley High: The Week, 06/10/13

  1. Dan Bayer says:

    “Laws such as these necessitate the mainstreaming of pregnant females in public schools.” Because, of course, the last thing we want is for pregnant students to get an education like any other teenager. Better to shame them by forcing them to be educated in a special facility, as if poor decision-making in one aspect of their lives is a communicable disease and they have to be quarantined or else it spreads. Why not prevent them from holding a job or going out in public at all, in order to further contain the contagion?

  2. Joe Guarino says:

    Dan, I think we definitely need to restore the shame associated with out-of-wedlock pregnancy– even if it means, to achieve gender equity, that we also require the culpable male to be educated in the “special facility”.

    Mainstreaming pregnant females in public schools culturally normalizes out-of-wedlock pregnancy among peers. It even can create an atmosphere of celebration and anticipation among subpopulations of female students. This was a huge cultural error when we took this path; and we ought to fix it. It is one contributor, among several, that led to the dissolution of the nuclear family unit.

    But never fear, Dan. Your man Obama now wants to require that the morning-after pill be sold to underaged girls. Another huge cultural error. More unprotected sex, more STD’s, more multiple partner sexuality. But hey, there would be no shame; and they can stay in regular public school classes, so it’s all good– right?

  3. recyclebill says:

    Joe wrote: “A news article reported this last week an incident involving prostitution occurring at Grimsley High School in Greensboro. Three young teen students were involved. One local editorialist openly questioned how this could possibly happen.

    Now, it would be difficult for us to attribute the incident to the fact that the Guilford County Schools now assign pornographic reading materials to students. However, it is entirely plausible to blame such an incident on the corrosive cultural, legal and political changes that have occurred over the last half-century. After all, we reap what has been previously sown”

    You’re as far off base as was/is Allen Johnson, the editorialist you’re referring to. There was teenage prostitution at the high school he and I attended way back when. We graduated in 1974. Prostitution is said to be the world’s oldest profession, nothing new about it even in the last 50 years. He was as clueless then as he is now and apparently you are….

    Is there more of it now? Perhaps. But lets stop pretending this is something new. There’s more of everything now. There’s more deer in the wild in NC than at any time in history, are we going to blame that on your imagined more decay?

    Reality is this: Currently, attendance in churches is at an all time high in the United States. You figure it out.

    And on another note: While you’re so worried about morning after pills, when I was in high school, Girls in Greensboro went to doctors with clothes hangers to get their problems fixed. Think about that, Doctor.

  4. recyclebill says:

    Sorry, meant to sign my name. -Billy Jones

  5. There is a lot of discussion about the teenaged girls; shaming vs not shaming, etc. Um, this may sound sexist, but what about the teenaged boys that are getting these girls pregnant? I’ve not heard one reference to them. I was a teenaged girl that got pregnant and was “shamed” not just by my peers but my family as well. I was 2 weeks shy of graduating when my son was born. I didn’t complete my finals, MY FINALS, so I didn’t get to graduate. All that work, gone. I was on my 2nd marriage and my 4th child before I completed my GED. Girls that get pregnant, need to be in the school, it doesn’t normalize teen pregnancy, it gives students the stark realities of what pregnancy and children do to young people, but also lets them know that education is important and you should stop at nothing to get it. For your sake and your baby’s. There is no doubt that she can’t rely on the boy that got her pregnant, because society doesn’t shame HIM. He becomes the stud that has moved on to get someone else shamed. errr, pregnant…All while HE remains at school. As for the GCS district, get over them, will you please? We’ve got some wonderful schooling happening right here in Guilford County….is it perfect? Of course not, in a district of 72,000 students, I think we are doing just fine. Unless your child is attending one of our high schools and are reading the materials that you consider “pornographic”, butt the heck out.

  6. recyclebill says:

    A girl I went to high school with back in the ’70s got pregnant by a boy she truly loved and thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. My friends and I watched the scenario play out. As many suspected, when she followed through on having the baby he bailed.

    Her parents pushed the issue until she forced him into court to collect child support. He concocted a “brilliant” scheme to beat the court and went around asking myself and most every other boy in class to come to court and testify that she was having sex with all the boys and therefore he shouldn’t have to pay.

    Of course, he wasn’t the first or last to try this so the judge ordered all his volunteers to pay child support. I think in the end the volunteers’ parents pushed for and got paternity testing but one young man learned a very hard lesson about responsibility.

    Which, by the way, responsibility is what the problem really is and not the imagined moral decay Doctor JoeyG loves to portray.

  7. Calvin Barger says:

    Hello. Hi. Well the way I see it we need to seriously think about criminalizing out of marriage births. In the end run out of marriage births are bad for society and civilization. Most of these kids end up perpetuating the cycle and live a life of crime. Why not allow the mothers to give birth and then sentence them to prison or probation and let the kid live in a mom and dad foster family so it will be raised right? IF YOU ARE OLD TO HAVE A BABY YOU ARE ALSO OLD TO GO TO JAIL, NO? Sorry I pressed the caps button by accident.

  8. Joe Guarino says:

    Billy, I might be wrong; but somehow I doubt there were many instances of prostitution at Grimsley High School back in 1963. What was particularly shocking about this particular incident was that at least one of the kids involved was 14 years old.

    Yes, fourteen.

  9. Joe Guarino says:

    Jacqui, I read the passages in some of the required reading for Guilford County Schools, and it was undoubtedly pornographic. But I don’t think that is what caused the prostitution incident at Grimsely.

    I think it would be fine to hold the young men who get these girls pregnant equally accountable. But notwithstanding your personal experience, I think a teen pregnancy is a clarion indicator that something is amiss in that young high school teen’s life. It cries out for intervention. Merely allowing things to roll along as if nothing happened is not satisfactory.

    It is not just the experience of the pregnant girl that matters. It is also what happens to our society when illegitimate children become commonplace, with all the statistical pathologies that are much more predominant. We need to think about the children– including the future children among her classmates and throughout the community. We need to think about the other young girls. It would be a profound failure of compassion to handle these situations as we have been, because it suggests it’s ok for other young girls and their kids to follow the same path. And it’s not.

  10. Dan Bayer says:

    Joe, I agree that teenage pregnancy can set a person back in terms of educational and economic achievement, particularly at a time when you need more than a high school education to attain a decent standard of living in this country. But the effort should be to get these kids back on track as quickly as possible, and making them feel ashamed isn’t going to help. Would you rather have them view themselves as damaged goods and give up on achieving anything and live the rest of their life on the dole? This is just another example of how social conservatives’ punitive attitudes work against not only the best interests of the public and the teenagers in question, but even against another one of their own values, that people should be self-supporting.
    I support the decision to make the morning-after pill available to teenagers. I find it odd that conservatives believe that the availability of contraception encourages people to have sex, yet the availability of guns doesn’t encourage people to commit crimes.

  11. recyclebill says:

    Joe, this may come as a surprise to you but historically most prostitutes begin that line of work in their early to mid teens at a time in their lives when children have many of the physical characteristics of adults but still retain the judgement of a child. This is especially true for females who as you know develop quicker than young males.

    -Billy

  12. recyclebill says:

    So in other words, fourteen is no surprise to those in the know.

    -Billy

  13. Joe Guarino says:

    It strikes me how important it is to minimize the significance of certain phenomena. 14 year olds engaging in prostitution at Grimsley High? Minimize the significance and the issues it raises. Teen girls buying the morning-after pill without their parents’ knowledge or consent? Minimize the significance and the issues it raises. 36 week pregnant bellies in the public school classroom? Minimize the significance and the issues it raises.

    It is no wonder we have epidemics of STD’s and out-of-wedlock births and fatherlessness and abortions and single parent families… and crushing poverty.

    We can do a lot better than this. In fact, we HAVE done a lot better than this. But of course, the preconditions were a lot different.

    If we want different outcomes than what we are now getting, folks, we are going to need to do things differently than we have over the last few decades. We can’t do more of the same, and expect a better outcome.

  14. recyclebill says:

    It’s not about minimization of significance. It’s about facing reality. Something you seem unable to do and must therefore resort to the “Yes, fourteen” scare tactic to prove a point that doesn’t exist. Teenage prostitution is thousands of years old. Face that fact and you can begin to deal with the issue of prostitution.

    Lump prostitution in with all your other “moral issues” as you so love to do and you’re left with nothing but scare tactics. Which, by the way, the religious right has been trying unsuccessfully to use for a couple thousand years or more. You, yourself, document the evidence almost daily. You and conservatives everywhere admit daily that you are losing the war and yet you do nothing differently.

    Duh!

    You’re a man of science, Joe. Try approaching these same issues as you would a sick patient. If I came in your office with a fever of 103 and bleeding to death would you tell me to go to church?

    -Billy

  15. Joe Guarino says:

    Billy, the illegitimacy rate is now 40 percent. Years ago in this country, it was very low.

    The fact that prostitution has existed for a long time does not mean that an instance of prostitution at Grimsley is a flagrant violation of what used to be (and ought to be) a cultural norm in this community, and in this nation. You attribute it to “reality”. But “reality” can change, depending upon whether responsible adults set the ground rules appropriately. Unfortunately, we have not had responsible adults setting the ground rules for many years.

  16. Joe Guarino says:

    Make that “is not a flagrant violation”.

  17. Dan Bayer says:

    Actually, Joe, teen births are trending downward: http://healthland.time.com/2013/05/24/whats-behind-the-drop-in-u-s-teen-birth-rates/. As far as the growth in single parent households, there’s a lot of reasons for that, many completely unrelated to people failing to read their Bibles. There’s the fact that many working-class men simply don’t have the economic value as breadwinners that they once did, thanks to wage stagnation, outsourcing and the switch from a manufacturing to a service industry economy, leading many women to figure that they might as well make a go of parenting on their own, without the additional hassle of trying to hold together a relationship under tough economic circumstances.

  18. Roch says:

    No, he’d ask if you had Medicaid.

  19. Joe Guarino says:

    Dan, the economic rationalization you provide might have some validity. But I can tell you that two-parent families have been common during periods throughout history when crushing poverty has been the norm in various cultures– including our own. Folks maintained two parent families in spite of poverty, and in spite of men not earning much. They maintained two parent families when men lost their jobs and when they became disabled.

    I am aware of the declining trend in teen births, although it is still a problem. And the unfortunate fact is that women “making a go of parenting on their own” in their 20′s and 30′s and 40′s is nearly as problematic as during the teen years.

  20. Joe Guarino says:

    Dan, I should add that women “making a go of parenting on their own” is facilitated mightily by the elaborate welfare state that has been created, especially for children. What a huge mistake.

    The point, however, is that this decision made by women would not be nearly as likely if premarital intercourse and out-of-wedlock childbearing had not been culturally normalized in our society. Young men and women are making an active decision to behave in a manner that is not honororable or moral– in part because large segments of society, including the popular culture and our poltiical and legal systems, have told them they can get by with it.

    This is ultimately self-destructive behavior on their part; but we all pay a price. And it is the kids who often pay the biggest price.

  21. Dan Bayer says:

    Joe, I think women just have different expectations out of relationships these days and perhaps most men simply aren’t measuring up. I know your solution would be to return to traditional gender roles, but the women I know aren’t having it. Instead of blaming everything on feminism, maybe we should consider whether traditional measures of manhood are really useful anymore. Starting in adolescence, we men tend to judge ourselves by criteria – access to sexual partners, flashy lifestyles, over-the-top machismo – that, frankly, serve as pretty poor yardsticks of self-worth in the long run. And maybe women just aren’t willing to tolerate typical male BS anymore in the search to find Mr. Right.

  22. Joe Guarino says:

    Dan, if women choose not to marry, for whatever reason, that is their choice; and they can certainly have fulfilling, useful lives of service without being married. But if they intentionally choose to have kids without getting married, they make an immoral and dishonorable choice, whatever their rationalization may be. It is very bad for society, and very bad for kids. You seem to feel that the woman is justified by virtue of whatever rationalization that may exist. But this viewpoint is really insufficient, both from a moral standpoint and also from the standpoint of understanding all the dynamics– legal, political, cultural– that got us to this regrettable point.

  23. Dan Bayer says:

    Joe, if marriage was a product, the manufacturer would be asking, “What is it about our product that causes people to no longer feel that they want or need it?” Focus groups would be meeting, polls would be taken, and marketers would be planning campaigns to roll out a new, improved and rebooted “Marriage 2.0″. You’re blaming out-of-wedlock births on Marxist conspiracies, but there’s more to it than that. If an institution begins to change or crumble, it’s usually because individuals no longer feel that it works the way it should for them. As you pointed out, people remained married in hard times before, so why not now? You also adroitly dodged a chance to look at how men’s behavior is partly responsible for these changes, which leads to believe that once again the women are going to get all the blame, as they usually do with conservatives.

    Bottom line is that whatever expectations people had of marriage 40 or 50 years ago, they’ve changed, particularly among the less-educated. And I agree that a lot of working-class people are having a hard time adapting to a new world where employment is more precarious, financial security seems out of reach and the old gender roles of male breadwinner/female homemaker no longer function in a landscape where it takes two incomes to support a family. But a lot of these economic changes are the result of a free-market economy that conservatives support. I don’t recall conservatives complaining, for example, about the loss of union jobs that allowed a man with little education to support his family single-handedly, thereby helping to maintain the gender roles in the “traditional” nuclear family.

  24. Dan Bayer says:

    Fortunately, it seems that some men are starting to realize that expectations of marriage are different today, and are starting to adjust on their own: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/15/living/modern-fathers-face-new-expectations/index.html?hpt=hp_c3 This is a good thing and should be encouraged.

  25. Thomas Amnesia says:

    Shaming doesn’t work and it never worked. It only worked on the parents of the pregnant young woman and forced them to send the girl into hiding and deny her their love and support when it was needed most. How does that scenario help anyone?

    And how is a child illegitimate, Joe? Are they not bona fide, genuine children? Why don’t you just call them all bastards, Joe? Will that make you feel more superior?

    You’re hopelessly stuck in a 1950′s, Leave It To Beaver culture, while our society has evolved into a kinder, more forgiving, and more helpful culture. We used to lock away mentally retarded children for life, never acknowledging they even existed. We used to beat queers for the fun of it and run them out of town. We used to make blacks use different doors, sit in different seats, use different dishes for reasons that still escapes me. In other words, Joe, we no longer hate people for who they are, or despise them for not being as intelligent as others, and we don’t ostracize people, their families, and their children for making poor decisions.

    Try looking for solutions, Joe, instead of placing blame and punishment. You’re beginning to resemble those fools that used to rail against the evils of rock and roll and that aboriginal twitching, jerking, and twisting that those beatniks called dancing.

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