Dual Standard

E.B. Boatner’s editorial [“A Word in Edgewise,” Lavender, August 1] would be right at home in most conservative newspapers. The hypocritical dual standard Boatner employs—mandating rigid behavior controls in the fostering of self-expression—reeks of self-righteousness and a desire to punish the victim for gender-aberrant behavior.

Boatner seems shocked that a female-identified eighth grader would want to wear exotic makeup and heels. Boatner seems equally put off that a female-identified eighth grader would flirt with boys to elicit a response. Apparently, Boatner has little or no current experience with middle schools. The whole editorial reeks of “back in my day…” sentiments.

I halfway expected Paul Lynde to burst into “What’s the Matter with Kids Today?”

King’s behavior is consistent with that of many eighth graders—testing the waters, seeing how things can be pushed before they give, and trying to understand who you are.

Instead of taking the school to task for not enforcing the dress code (especially as King was not in violation on the day of the shooting!), or somehow implying that the whole thing is society’s fault because eighth graders have an excessive amount of personal liberties, why is Boatner not outraged that an eighth grader could so easily get a gun, and bring it school, let alone kill someone for teasing him, and having a crush on him?

What are the limits of tolerance? I can’t answer that. But I can tell you that pushing the limits of social tolerance should not be a capital offense.

—Diana Green

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