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4A COTTAGE GROVE SENTINEL MAY 16, 2018
The First Amendment
(Not) "Bad Kids"
b o a r d
outside the room
at the district offi ce
where the South
Lane school board
meets that has a
sign pinned to it.
By Caitlyn May
“People will forget
what you did. People
will forget what you said but they will never
forget how you made them feel.”
For the last seven months, readers have
been given the chance to follow the students
of Al Kennedy High School as they moved
to a new location, got a new principal and
continued to do more with less as part of an
ongoing series in Th e Sentinel called “Bad
Th e project was a little unconventional.
Give two reporters complete access to a
high school campus on an ever-changing,
no-notice schedule and let them see what
happens. Th ey’ll take notes and photographs,
ask questions in-between lessons, observe
lectures and attend school events. Everything
was on the record until it wasn’t. Every few
weeks, they’ll write a story and while the
administration was granted the authority to
review the pieces before they went to press, the
deal mandated that if the story was accurate,
it ran. Never once did the administration ask
us to take something out, put something in
or alter something for perception-sake. Th e
only thing they asked, was that we have a
conversation about the title of the series and
aft er a handful of discussions and a few draft s,
we agreed. “Bad Kids.”
We landed on the title because it was
impossible not to. If we were going to be
faithful to the idea that this project was
about a school doing the most with the
least and learning what stories to tell as we
went then we could not turn a blind eye to
the most fundamental lesson we learned as
we began to engage with the community at
Kennedy: Th at in addition to carrying the
weight of homelessness, teen pregnancy,
learning disorders, trauma and all around
bad luck, these students were burdened with
the judgement of a community that would
rather measure them against the stereotypes
associated with their circumstance than
provide them the support needed to overcome
“Th at’s where the bad kids go” was uttered
so frequently in conjunction with the name
'Kennedy' that bystanders would not be
faulted for thinking it part of the school’s
So, we gave the phrase back to the students.
We said, no.
No, they’re not unable to learn.
No, they’re not trouble makers.
No, they don’t have anything wrong with
Th ey’re not bad kids.
Th at’s why it’s in quotes.
But, that may have been lost in translation
Th e title is essentially an accidental
Rorschach test. It’s what someone makes of it,
sometimes exposing an inherent bias.
Th at wasn’t our intention, of course.
We chose the title "Bad Kids" to challenge
the misconceptions because anyone who
spends more than a few minutes on campus
will come to discover that the students at
Kennedy are the most hardworking, generous,
open-minded, accepting students in the South
Lane School District. Th e bum cards some of
them have been dealt and the inequity they
face in their own community doesn’t dictate
their behavior. At Kennedy, kids don’t believe
in spite. Th ey don’t complain when someone
gets more than they do, they just work harder.
Th ey try again.
In the next installment, readers will have
the chance to see just how hard they have to
work and how many more times they have to
try. And just how unfair it can seem.
Aft er spending a day at Kennedy, we knew
they weren’t bad kids. Th at’s what we’ve been
trying to show for the last seven months.
How this misconception of Kennedy as a
school has sometimes made the students feel
like bad kids and the danger of indulging in
stereotypes that rob potential and confi dence
from children already facing extraordinary
circumstances with grit and grace lacking in
people who’ve had decades’ more practice.
Th e staff and students of Kennedy let us
onto their campus and into their lives to share
their story and as we come to the end of the
school year, and this series, we hope that’s
become abundantly clear. Th ese are not bad
kids. And they’re not oblivious.
Th ey know what you call them. But they’re
taking back the title because this is their
And their story.
Who's ready for Cow Patty Bingo?
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One the Lighter Side
or those who might
not be familiar
with the spectator
sport of Cow Patty Bin-
go for reasons of sanity,
I’ll just take a moment to
cover the basics.
First, you need a cow.
By Ned Hickson
Second, you need a
email@example.com really BIG bingo card.
Okay, not really. But
you really do need a cow,
preferably one that has just eaten a lot of fi -
ber — like, say... a 55-gallon drum of granola.
Next, you need a large fi eld or yard (preferably
a neighbor’s) that can be divided into num-
bered grids. Once you have the cow and the
grid, it’s time to start selling squares. Th is re-
quires fi nding people who think that poop is
If you know anyone who watched “Bache-
lor in Paradise,” that would probably be a good
place to start.
Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press, or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition their
Government for a redress of greivences.
Th e rules to Cow-Patty Bingo are simple.
Each square is numbered and sold for $5 each,
and you can buy as many squares as you like.
Keep in mind, however, that the more money
you spend on squares the less you can spend
on beer, which is something you’ll need a lot
of in order to cloud any memory of yourself
standing in the bleachers screaming “POOP
IN MY SQUARE!”
It’s also important to note that in order for
a “drop” to qualify, it must be deemed “clear-
ly visible” by the judges. Th is is actually a lot
harder than it sounds. Th at’s because, in order
to prepare for this level of scrutiny, judges, on
average, consume twice as much beer as spec-
tators at these events.
Okay, now that we’ve covered the basics,
it’s time to talk controversy. According to an
article sent to me by Jack Ortiz of Reedsport,
Ore., a recent Cow-Patty Bingo fund raiser
held at Florida Southern College became the
target of protests from PETA (People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals) which said, and
I quote: “Cows are adversely aff ected by laugh-
(I should clarify that PETA was referring to
human laughter, and not cows getting laughed
at by other cows. I should further clarify that,
as far as cows are concerned, the poop thing
just isn’t that funny anymore.)
Furthermore, Amy Rhodes, a caseworker
for PETA, strongly denounced the college’s
participation in Cow-Patty Bingo, saying that
it was “A dangerous message to send to kids.”
I completely agree with this, and can see
how prolonged exposure to this type of activi-
ty starting at an early age can only lead to one
thing — and that is retirement and real bingo.
Probably somewhere in Florida.
While there are certainly no easy solutions
to the growing controversy over Cow-Patty
Bingo, I think fi nding some common ground
would be a good place to start. From there, we
can fi nally move forward.
Just as long as everyone watches where they
my coaches. I loved sports, still do, wanting
to coach was my big draw to teaching. I
wanted to continue to be involved in sports
aft er fi nishing college.
I think the most important question to
ask is, “Why did I continued to teach for 33
years?” It is the energy of the young people.
Many times you hear people say, “Our
future is in trouble.”
I respectfully disagree. Th e young people
I have met over the last 30 plus years have
been incredible. Th ey aren’t all going to be
our future leaders, but some will. Many will
be the behind the scenes “work horses” that
keep the day to day operations working
smoothly. Some of the other reasons I
• I love the “light bulb” moments when it
comes together for a student;
• I love how they help each other be
• I love how they lift each other up when
they are sad.
• I love having a sense of belonging
to this big beautiful messy family we call
But most of all, I love fi nding out what
they have done with their lives aft er they
have moved on in life: leaders, problem
solvers, caregivers, etc. But my favorite
thing is when they come back and let you
know what an inﬂ uence you had on them
and thank you for being a part of their lives.
Cottage Grove High School
30 years + 3 years at Burns Union High
HOW TO CALL YOUR REPS
Senator Floyd Prozanski
District 4 State Senator
PO Box 11511
Eugene, OR 97440
Peter DeFazio (House of
405 East 8th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 465-6732
Republican District 7 State
900 Court St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1407
E-Mail : rep.cedrichayden@
Ron Wyden (Senator)
405 East 8th Ave., Suite
Eugene, OR, 97401
Email: visit wyden.senate.
Phone: (541) 431-0229
Why I teach...
Why did I start teaching? Several reasons
I guess. It’s in my blood, I come from a long
line of teachers. My grandmother, great
aunt, both parents and an older brother
were all teachers. Th ey say you do what you
see. But throughout my years as a student
I also had many wonderful teachers who
inﬂ uenced my choice to become a teacher.
My fi rst grade teacher was a wonderfully
kind woman who built my self-confi dence
and pride. My high school yearbook/
English teacher made me believe anything
career was possible. He was a man who
loved all students and gave them the gift
of wanting to learn for a lifetime. He was a
soft spoken man who gave respect so he got
I think my most inﬂ uential teachers were
Jeff Merkley (Senator)
Email: visit merkley.senate.
Phone: (541) 465-6750
C ottage G rove
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Gary Manly, General Manager ................................................. Ext. 207
Jakelen Eckstine, Marketing Specialist .................................... Ext. 213
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Ned Hickson, Managing Editor........................................541-902-3520
Caitlyn May, Editor. ................................................................. Ext. 212
Zach Silva, Sport Editor ............................................................ Ext. 204
Mandi Jacobs, Offi ce Manager ................................................ Ext. 200
Legals, Classifi eds .......................................... Ext. 200
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