Sayreville's High School Scandal: America's Wake-Up Call
Our character crisis is continually spotlighted with government, corporate, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based scandals.
In government, titans of influence including the former vice president’s chief of staff, governors, congressmen, and officials from every level of public service have violated positions of trust. Instead, many are now convicted felons who have been imprisoned.
The corporate world has proven that greed, self-aggrandizement, and contempt continually transform prestige to handcuffs and shackles.
Professional football players, major league baseball players, and Olympians have betrayed the public’s admiration by cheating, crimes, and misconduct.
The star-studded red carpets of Hollywood headline idolized careers continually destroyed by addictions.
A massive and pervasive character crisis has even tainted the hallowed halls of faith-based communities with sins, crimes, and cover-ups that make all of nature blush.
Sayreville’s Character Crisis
The youth of America are not immune to our crisis of character.
•Arrests of seven high school football players on aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy, criminal restraint, and hazing charges. There is a strong possibility these teens will be tried as adults and imprisonment is a possibility
•The seven students have been suspended from school and college athletic scholarships are being lost
•Brokenness in the lives of victims and in the entire community. Additional concerns include on-going harassment, long-term therapy, family conflicts, and ostracizing the victims and their families—who should be treated as heroes for their moral courage—by the community and fellow students
•Failure of the entire community concerning character development and the lack of supervisory and leadership skills by the football team coaching staff
•The cancellation of the team’s football season that also has negative ramifications on innocent players, cheerleaders, students, and the entire Sayreville community. The suspension may also be extended beyond the current season
•The embarrassing reinforcement to American education that bullying, hazing, and a lack of values is a reality. Tragically, character education often takes a back row to athletic accomplishments at schools and campuses nationwide.
•Extreme challenges for normalcy and healing at the school due to a barrage of national media coverage
Although I have been privileged to address many assemblies. My signature presentation for students, “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” carries the paramount message.
During this presentation, I ask students to take a journey with me. A candid picture of societal challenges is painted:
•Our Character Crisis
•Negative Behavior and Consequences
•The Gang Mentality
•America’s “Get High” Society
We then move from challenges to the power of character accentuating examples of positive behavior of America’s youth to inspire these qualities:
•Greatness through Sacrifice
•Living a Life of Ethical Dignity
•Kindness, Respect, Civility, Compassion
•Bringing Out the Best in Others
•Helping Others Do What Is Right
America’s character crisis did not happen overnight. It will take generations to transform our nation and we must begin now with full-force dedication through our schools.
Our youth must light the torch of character and keep the flame burning bright. Their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity will build a better world. The crisis of character may have its day. But in due time, the character of our youth will lift the nation.
The youth of our nation are a priceless treasure and deserve encouragement. Their families, communities, and nation entrust them with America’s future. They deserve good example and guidance to ignite a renewal of character within America.
At times it can seem that the future is bleak when bombarded by one crisis after another. But America’s future is bright because of the potential of our youth. The positive influence of families and community must ignite the power of character within each of them and inspire their mission to reawakening the nation.
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.
1. Vincent addressing FBI agents and supervisors as keynote speaker for the Newark Division Management retreat on Sept. 17, 2014. Vincent encouraged the FBI to enhance character education initiatives for schools through their community outreach. (Courtesy FBI)
2. Middle school students at Washington School in Union City, N.J., listen to Vincent’s signature presentation “Be a Person of Character: Change the World” on Feb. 27, 2008. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. Vincent J. Bove at the United States Military Academy, West Point, with attendees of his “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” keynote on April 3, 2009. All attendees received copies of his latest book titled “Listen To Their Cries” through the generosity of Fairleigh Dickinson University. (Vincent Bove Publishing)
4. Over 800 students and family members prior at Vincent Bove's keynote titled: “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” on March 8, 2014. The event was held by Monmouth University to recognize their National Honor Society inductees. All inductees received copies of “Listen To Their Cries” through the generosity of the university. (Vincent J. Bove)