Quick Hits – January 3, 2022
“Act like you’ve been there before!”
That titular quote has been variously ascribed to football coach legends Lou Holtz, Vince Lombardi, and Joe Paterno, but regardless of the source, it’s a sage warning about overzealous endzone rituals that only serve to rile up the other team and make the player look petty.
But it also applies to life beyond football.
Despite being somewhat down on teachers, I have to give the St. Charles D303 variety a boatload of credit for their recent reasonable and effective approach to addressing their school board. The truth is, the COVID era has been hard on all of us, but it’s been particularly perplexing for educators.
Beyond the basic hardships, the State, district administrators, and our school boards insist on adding an ever-increasing number of spinning plates to what was an already a spinning plate fraught gig.
Describing themselves as “burnt out,” a number of teachers spoke at a November meeting and they did so in the kind of measured manner that tends to get results. To paraphrase those statements:
- “We want to have a two-way dialog”
- “We want to be partners with you”
- “Please trust your teachers”
There were no threats, no finger pointing, and a rather refreshing lack of that pervasive victimhood petulance. In fact, they did so well I would highly recommend watching the “tape” for a perfect lesson in how to get what you want from any governing body.
Put more simply, they acted like they’ve been there before.
And I fervently wish that was where the story ended, but in what will likely come as no surprise to anyone, the rest of the D303 teachers immediately proceed to utterly un-do all that fine work.
Because while their emissaries were cogently addressing the board, hundreds of their compatriots were hooting, hollering, and cheering as the proceedings were broadcast to a grassy area right outside that Haines Center meeting room.
Yes! Because that kind of mob mentality intimidation always gets you what you want, right? Put more simply, they acted like they’ve never been there before, and that’s particularly disheartening from a group of teachers who really oughtta know better.
My question to those hooting folks would be, “How would you react if your young charges protested in the same raucous manner, and given that approach, would you be more or less likely to listen to what they had to say?”
Throw in the CPS teachers acting out again and my estimation of teachers continues to plummet. COVID has certainly exposed the majority of educators for who they really are.
Who’s responsible for overserving patrons?
We’ve repeatedly discussed the absurdity of serving hard alcohol in an aluminum tube hurtling through the upper reaches of the atmosphere at 600 miles per hour. C’mon! What could possibly go wrong with that?
The beyond basic problem of course is, flight attendants, who swiftly cite their vast training in an effort to place themselves far above your average bar and grill server, still seem to be utterly impervious to the early warning signs of an about-to-be-overserved passenger.
When they finally do cut the drunk off, the overly inebriated flier either assaults them, another flier, or they storm the cockpit door. And when the Air Marshalls finally arrest them, the airline CEO will inevitably pound their fist on the press conference podium while proclaiming the evil passenger will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
What they consistently fail to say is, “In an effort to squeeze every last dollar out of our customers, we have absolutely no intention of banning booze from any flights.”
A similar situation just played out in Batavia.
As the subsequently arrested Aurora woman put it, “They kept giving me shots and I ended up being drunk.” By “they” she means the folks attending the same birthday party, and she, indeed, did end up so “drunk” such that the bar had to call the Batavia Police to have her removed.
In this more litigious MeToo era, it would seem that bouncers have become obsolete, particularly in regard to overserved female patrons.
Because they have nothing better to do than babysit drunks, the Batavia Police dutifully appeared and tried to cajole the Aurora woman into getting a ride home. But she was so far past the point of logical reasoning that the situation rapidly deteriorated from there.
Instead of simply leaving, the woman repeatedly spit on the officers, and when they tried to restrain her from doing so, she reverse-kicked one in the thigh while striking another in the chest with an open palm. As some of you may already know, assaulting a police officer means an automatic felony aggravated battery charge.
Not nearly finished, when an officer opened the rear squad car door in an effort to calm her down, the 29-year-old woman kicked it open such that it sustained damage colliding with a nearby mailbox. Inflicting damage to State property is also another automatic felony charge.
It certainly doesn’t take a genius to determine what really happened.
Clearly not a big drinker, this woman’s friends thought it would be funny to get her completely drunk. And even though we’re all responsible for working within our limits, as it is with most twenty-something nitwits, she had no clue what her limits were. And that’s exactly where the bar’s culpability comes in.
By law, Illinois servers must undergo reasonably rigorous training that arms them with the capacity to recognize all the overserving signs and cut a customer off before they become an issue. Though the proposition remains a perilous one, considering her general behavior that evening, it was beyond obvious.
But that didn’t stop the bar from continuing to serve her to the point where police finally had to resolve the situation at the Batavia taxpayers’ expense.
So, now a woman who hasn’t had as much as a parking ticket is facing two felony and a misdemeanor charge as a result of what was supposed to be a fun night. Though there’s more than enough blame to go around here, if I had to choose between holding a twenty-something woman or the bar staff responsible, 80 percent of it would fall on the bar.
They should never have let it get nearly that far.
BPD Public Information and Media Officer, Sergeant Michelle Langston, was kind enough to discuss this sad scenario at length.
She reminded me that it isn’t always easy for bars because they have no clue as to whether someone shows up already high or drunk. So the term “overserving” can be a relative one. She also said that the bar in question, and Batavia bars in general, haven’t been a problem in this regard, which does reflect well on them and the City.
Langston further described how officers, who know exactly what they’re getting into, always approach inebriated folks with respect and generally apply a low-key persuasion. But she also said most drunks don’t want deal with the police and the situation generally goes south from there.
The Sergeant also told me that the BPD’s responsibility doesn’t end with patron’s removal. They’ll do their best to get them a ride, and in many cases, one of the officers will drive them home.
As far as the ensuing legal realities go, given the Aurora woman’s clean track record, the felonies will likely be plead down to misdemeanors – as they should be. The BPD also filed a Liquor Commission incident report with Mayor Jeff Schielke, and the Commission could fine the bar or worse.
Given their greater responsibility, a fine covering the total cost of the police involvement would certainly be appropriate here. Then let’s hope they do better in the future.