I refuse to give the high school jerks a free pass, regardless of conventional wisdom

Logic says that we shouldn’t continue to blame a person for being a jerk in high school because it was high school. Teenagers are not fully developed human beings, peer pressure can be incredibly intense and people often change a great deal in the years following high school.

But here’s the thing:

Many people chose not to be jerks in high school.

Despite their popularity, wealth or sports acumen, many teenagers choose the path of kindness, empathy, generosity and decency, even when their status would allow them otherwise.

So while we might not judge a person based solely on their actions during their sixteenth year of life, shouldn’t we at least admire the hell out of the people who treated their peers with decency and dignity in high school when so many others around them were doing otherwise?

It’s true that Glenn Bacon has probably grown up a great deal since throwing that music stand at my head like a spear during our junior year. If I met him today, I might find him to be a decent, upstanding man. But he still threw a music stand at my head and refused to take responsibility for his actions when blood was streaming from a cut above my eye and I was unable to regain my feet for a full fifteen minutes.

Sure, he was a teenager, but it was a stupid, cruel, cowardly and dangerous thing to do, and that remains true at any age.

If I met Glenn today, I wouldn’t base my opinion of him solely on his behavior in the music room that day, but this actions would continue to carry weight because of guys like Peter DiCecco or Mark Wojcik, who opted out of that kind of behavior and treated the people around then with decency and kindness despite their age and ability to do otherwise.

At least give credit to the good guys for choosing to be good much earlier than many others.