After observing the Sean Schellinger trial, where a young Black man was being tried on charges of manslaughter, and the ensuing fallout after the verdict was read in court, something struck me yet again, that I must address here: bad behavior from children that is left unchecked into adulthood.
There are far too many parents who insist on coddling their children, make excuses for bad behaviors, and will use whatever influence they may have to make things disappear. If that does not work, they will threaten people at best, and sabotage others at worst.
It starts at home, when we refuse to correct temper tantrums and bad manners towards others. We behave as if these little creatures that we gave birth to are beyond reproach, and we will tear the head from anyone who would dare to point out what they see as a future problem.
So, off they go to school to unsuspecting teachers who are expected to take challenging behaviors and just deal with it, because those same parents will bellow that it is their tax dollars that pay that teacher’s salary. They want their child to be above reproach. They sometimes go even further threatening educators about their child’s awful grades and forcing them to fix it or else. I wish I was making this stuff up.
When someone in school is brave enough to mete out a detention or a well earned suspension for their “little darling,” the superintendent of schools is called, school board members get an earful and on and on. People often breathe a sigh of relief when that child leaves each grade until they finally graduate.
So, here we have the case of Sean Schellinger, a young man with a solid reputation for fighting others, bullying and other sundry events that were not only written about in several articles, but also led to one person in Florida who was left with a scar after meeting him in a club coming to Philadelphia to give his testimony before being deployed in the service. According to public records 11 years ago, Sean either got what amounted to a slap on the wrist in the court, or nothing at all was done to check his behaviors.
That fateful night in 2018 would be his last, as video showed him charging at Michael White to pick him up and slam him on the ground, because White was trying to help another person that Schellinger was heading furiously towards in a traffic scuffle gone awry. No one — least of all the White family — wanted what became the tragic end of Schellinger’s life, and while there has been much discussion around guilt or innocence on both sides, we clearly had in black and white the past history of the deceased, which included social media posts and people who interacted with him over the years as he grew up and attended Penn State as a quarterback and student.
I was also acutely struck that neither of his parents took the witness stand to speak of their son, all the while knowing what was being reported about him.
What are we missing here? It is difficult to quarterback after the game is over, so to speak, but what could have been done differently with this young man? What are the responsibilities for parents when they see their child is on a trajectory that can cause pain and the loss of life? My hope is that this tragic story becomes a lesson, so that it is not repeated, even as Sean’s parents will never be able to replace their child in an incident that never had to happen, if cooler heads prevailed.
Get a hold of your children, when they are yet young. Their behaviors in adulthood signals what was poured into them — or not.
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