Filed under Opinion

Do your actions matter in high school?

Judge+Kavanaugh%E2%80%99s+family+smiling+for+photos+after+being+appointed+Judge.
Judge Kavanaugh’s family smiling for photos after being appointed Judge.

Judge Kavanaugh’s family smiling for photos after being appointed Judge.

Judge Kavanaugh’s family smiling for photos after being appointed Judge.

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By Lara Spijkerman

Do your actions matter in high school? Academically, yes. The tests you take, the grades you get, the clubs you join — all impact your future. However what about your choices? Should you be punished for something you did in high school if you are now a fully-fledged adult? That’s the question that’s been circling America for the past few weeks due to a newly appointed Supreme Court Justice. Judge Kavanaugh, a Republican, was chosen by Donald Trump to be a Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh’s appointment to the office of Justice seemed like a certain thing until a woman named Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology and researcher at Stanford University, sent a letter to a lawmaker saying that Kavanaugh assaulted her in high school – three decades ago. However, Congress still appointed Kavanagh as the newest justice of the Supreme Court.

Should Kavanaugh’s alleged actions affect him now? In order to answer this question, we need to examine high school today. What about us? How will our actions affect us in thirty years?

What about us? Well, we’re teenagers. We’re still trying to figure out how to best balance school, family, and friends. We’re faced with challenges, drama, and stress, and we’re all just trying to figure it out the best we can. While some may turn to friends or sports, others may relieve their stress the Kavanaugh way: by drinking a lot of alcohol.

Usually at parties, such as the one Kavanaugh was at when the alleged assault took place, the opportunity to drink presents itself. Let’s be incredibly clear, alcohol excuses nothing. While you may not be fully coherent while drunk, you know the basics. Kindness is good. Murder is bad. Sexual assault is definitely not ok. If you murder someone while drunk, you’ll still be charged with murder. The circumstances aren’t relevant, what only matters is the action itself.

While sexual assault is bad whenever you do it, with the emerging importance of social media and the internet, it will haunt you. Through our phones, we take pictures, send whisperings, tweet feelings. If you, like Kavanaugh, sexually assault someone at a party, in this day and age, no one will forget. The internet never forgets because nothing ever disappears —  not the pictures, not the videos, not the conversations.

Will a sexual assault affect you in thirty years? Yes, absolutely. Through a solid background check, an employer can find out everything. They’ll see your eighth-grade yearbook photo that you’re not particularly proud of, your best essay from twelve grade, and the conversations people had about an alleged sexual assault that you committed. All your work, all your time will mean nothing to an employer if they find this on you. No employer worth their salt will hire you with something like this looming over your head. What’s astonishing is that this all happened to Kavanaugh.

Three women have come out saying that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted them. Yet, he still got the job. Not only did he get the job, but now he has one of the most important judicial positions in America. Unfortunately, Brett Kavanaugh’s classmates didn’t have phones back when he was in high school; social media wasn’t invented yet. If he was a high-schooler now, what he allegedly did to Christine Blasey Ford, and all those other women would affect him for years to come.

Perhaps if she was in high school now, people would have taken pictures, tweeted from the party, and texted details, so she could prove her story. Then we wouldn’t have to rely on memory alone, which has made some Republican senators skeptical.

I’m going to come right out and say it: our choices now do have consequences. They will affect your career, your future family, and your sense of self. No matter what Congress thinks, no matter what the president thinks, our choices have importance, especially with our every move being documented. Kavanaugh might not have to pay for what he did in high school, but we absolutely will, so pick your choices carefully.

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