Breathtakingly Stupid

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Breathtakingly Stupid

Imagine this scenario: a busload of high school students are on a trip to a foreign country. An hour or two after departure (so a long way from home but still in their own country), one of the students badly misbehaves. The teacher in charge decides this student shouldn't be permitted to come on the trip, so she has the driver pull over at the next gas station and ejects the kid, leaving him there while the teacher and the rest of the group continue. She doesn't call the kid's parents, the police, or otherwise notify anyone of what's happened.

I think our hypothetical teacher might well find herself in a lot of trouble.

The real teachers in this Dutch news story had better find themselves in a whole lot of trouble.

The kids were on their way to Germany. Apparently, there was a misunderstanding about whether a 15-year-old student had paid the fee for the trip--he had paid by bank transfer the night before, but the teachers on the bus didn't have any record of that. So, about 140 kilometers (almost 90 miles) from home, the bus pulled over to the side of the freeway, dumped the kid, and took off. The boy's mother described the situation using an English expression, as is fashionable here: "Hij was echt in de middle-of-nowhere uit de bus gezet." He ended up walking an hour and a half before reaching an inhabited place.

My seven-year-old twins found this story inexplicable. People do dumb things all the time. But sometimes, an action is so dumb that it leaves you speechless. Next time I'm considering something dubious, I'll use this test: if a seven-year-old would know that there is no conceivable justification for what I'm thinking of doing, it's probably a better idea not to do it.

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