Many conversations have been sparked in the wake of the viral news stemming from Princeton High School student’s Jews vs Nazis beer pong scandal. While PHS has been spotlighted for this incident, it is happening with high school students across the country. Cape Coral High School was under the microscope back in 2014 when Fox News did an exposé on the game’s popularity with students at the school. Also known as Holocaust Pong or Alcoholocaust, this drinking game surfaced in 2012 and it’s rumored that the creator is Jewish. Even if this is true, it should not make this game acceptable.
The main focus has been on the anti-Semitism tone of the game. Some have brushed this off as “just” being a theme that adds entertainment value. 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust including resistant fighters. Hatred should neither be entertaining nor reduced to a drinking game. Children are not born into this world hating, they learn from adults, so parents have a responsibility to have discussions about these topics. Hopefully, to be understanding and have good judgment.
There are some who are angry and showing hatred towards the messenger. Questions are being raised about why she wrote the blog post or at least why she didn’t blur the faces, and she is being called a whistleblower. No mention has been made publicly about anger with the person who originally posted the photo on SnapChat, asking why he included the faces in the photo. The blogger said “They had the freedom to post it and do it, and I have the freedom to take it and post it too.” referring to her freedom of speech. PHS administrators were shown the photo and warned that a blog post would be written, but those in the photo were not warned. 5 million non-Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and some of them stood up to the Nazis opposing their actions. The question is, should we teach our children to be brave and speak up publicly for what they think is wrong knowing there might be repercussions, only approach authorities and the other party involved, or stay silent?
What hasn’t been (widely) discussed in the news is the fact that minors were (binge) drinking in the basement of a private home. Alcohol consumption by high schoolers is a nationwide issue. Princeton High School has tried to minimize this, in particular on prom night. Some students have after parties in their homes where alcohol is served. PHS has had in the past an after party to encourage students to come back to the high school instead, where valuable prizes where even raffled off. A parent at a PTO meeting explained a few years ago that it’s not only drunk driving that’s a concern with consumption of alcohol, but also sexual assault as a result of them being inebriated.
These are frat boy or college jock issues that already surface in high school. The “whistleblower” mentioned in an interview that the reason she didn’t blur the faces in the photo is because a couple of those shown are members of Teen Pep, a school organized peer leader group that encourages PHS students to abstain from sex, drugs, and alcohol. She exposed these leaders as hypocrites. There has also been talk that some of the athletes had been recruited and signed documents pledging to refrain from drugs and alcohol, and as a result have lost scholarships due to their actions.
Of course, this will cause lots of tension for the blogger and those who side with her. She has chosen morality over loyalty, that has changed the lives of her classmates. Or, is it the actions of the classmates who have changed their own lives for drinking alcohol, playing an inappropriate game, and being careless to post it on a social media site? It is known that colleges check social media, especially for athletes and scholarship winners to see if they are not living up to expectations, so would they have been caught anyway?
This party has raised many red flags. Could it have been avoided by parents having conversations with their teenaged children? How did minors get their hands on so many cans of beer? Have we as a society become so far removed from tragic mistakes of the past (eg. the Holocaust, slavery, 9/11), that we can poke fun of them? Is it commonplace to be bitter about someone for calling you out for your bad behavior? Should loyalty trump ethics? Are we as parents sending the right messages to our teenagers?
This incident could be the catalyst for many dinner conversations with teens and tweens, between parents, and among friends. It takes a village to raise a child, so we should work together as a community to help teens figure out the best way to navigate peer pressure and make sound decisions in the future.
What messages do you think we should be sending teens after this incident?