What are we teaching our students?

I am a huge fan of educating High School Students about the Canadian Legal System. I’m always happy to participate in Judging the Law 11 and Law 12 Mock Trials that form part of many High School courses.

Our firm is a also proud sponsor of a Scholarship for the Highest Law mark in a local High School in an effort to encourage students to consider a career in Law.

Last week I had the privilege of being one of the Judges of a Regional High School Championship. I’m intentionally not naming the Region as the rest of this Blog may be a bit “ranty”.

This High School Championship was organized in the Fall of 2013. The High Schools involved committed to attending at that time. Court Rooms were booked, lawyers booked off entire days to Judge the tournament, catering was ordered and tasks were assigned to the various schools involved.

A week before the tournament, one school, with two teams, dropped out as their IB students felt it was too close to exams. Exams they knew the timing of a year ago.

Worse yet, the day before the tournament another school dropped out, again, due to their IB students.

The worst behavior ever, however, came from the school that, after losing twice in the opening rounds, left. Yes, that’s right, they left. They were destined for the consolation finals and could have still picked up a medal, but they left.

IB students, as I understand it, are high achievers, expecting to go on to careers in Medicine and Law. Allow me to suggest that both of those fields require follow through on commitment. Learning commitment in High School will serve you well in the future. These IB students learned they are “entitled” and can cancel on a whim, regardless of the consequences to other teams.

The team that left because they were losing ? Wow. I’ll have to try that the next time I get the sense I might not be winning in Court. I’ll stand up and say “you know what Your Honour, this doesn’t look to be going so well, so I’m leaving.” Obviously, if I do this, someone else will be Blogging … probably about the consequences of Contempt of Court.

What are many of our High School kids learning? Apparently, entitlement, self absorption and poor sportsmanship.

To those kids who honoured their commitment and participated, even when their teams were not doing well, please disregard this Blog – you are all fantastic.

My concern is that there are fewer of the fantastic kids than there should be.

Inga B. Andriessen JD