How can schools act “in loco parentis” when even parents don’t act “in loco parentis”?

Robert Marucci doing his thing to entertain the masses.

Robert Marucci doing his thing to entertain the masses.

“In loco parentis” is a Latin term that translates to “in the place of a parent.”  To the extent it still shows up anywhere today, it shows up in courts when an institution appears on behalf of a child, instead of the parent appearing on behalf of the child.

The phrase used to have a place in education too.  Schools once acted “in loco parentis,” meaning that, when children, including college-aged children, were in their care, the schools imposed the type of rules that parents would be expected to impose.  At colleges and universities, dormitories were single-sex, and there were strict limits admission to people of the opposite sex.  After all, if it was reasonable to believe that Mom and Dad wouldn’t let their 18-year-old daughter “entertain” a man in her room all night, the college shouldn’t let her do that either.  Likewise, if parents were unlikely to approve of their children drinking themselves into a stupor on a regular basis, the schools ought to disapprove of the same conduct.  Boorish behavior, disrespectful language, public nudity, etc. — they all fell under the same rule:  if most parents wouldn’t approve, the college also wasn’t going to approve.

Because American public schools, unlike colleges and universities, don’t offer room and board along with education, the “in loco parentis” doctrine was less visible.  The deal was that the kids went to class, got taught a lesson, and then came home again.  Still, the schools, just as parents presumably would, frowned on public sex, drug use, violence, and obscenities.  In the old days, therefore, schools would not have looked kindly on the discovery that one of the school’s students was a gay internet porn star.  Just as Mom and Dad would be unlikely to invite Linda Lovelace into their home, the school would decline to invite Mr. Gay Porn Star into its classrooms.  Both parents and school would have said that the porn actor was a corrupting influence on the young minds under their care.

One high school in Pennsylvania made the mistake of thinking that it still has a duty to act in the place of the parents.  When it learned that Robert Marucci, an 18-year-old senior, was earning money on the side by having gay sex on the internet, it suspended him.  Because “corrupting others” is no longer an acceptable notion in America’s public schools, however, it based the suspension on the ground that Marucci’s presence at the school was “disruptive,” and interfered with the other students’ ability to learn.  Of course, since it was fellow students who apparently discovered Marucci’s sideline when they were surfing gay porn sites, one suspects that, if preventing “corruption” was the goal, that horse left the barn a long time ago.

How wrong the school was.  There was an immediate uproar.  How dare the school try to shelter students from the antics of a fellow student who strips off his clothes and has sex with men, live and on camera, for money? The school quickly backed down.

All of the above was to be expected in today’s world.  Nowadays, what constitutes unforgivable debased behavior is to say that you believe in heterosexual marriage and sexual relations, support the Second Amendment, and believe that it’s murder to dismember a living baby because the mom doesn’t want it.  (Never mind that most Americans put gradations on the Mom’s desires, showing sympathy when she’s been raped and being decidedly less sympathetic when she expresses horror that an extra baby will force her to shop at Costco.)

What actually surprised me about Marucci’s story is his Mom’s reaction.  As far as she’s concerned, her son is “awesome” (her word, not mine):

Melyssa Lieb, from Cocoa, Florida, said she vehemently supports her son, 18-year-old Robert Marucci, who was suspended from his high school after classmates discovered his explicit career.

‘I think he’s the most awesome person in the world,’ she told WKMG through tears. ‘He stood up and he was the man of the house when I couldn’t be.’

It’s pretty foolish to expect schools to act “in loco parentis,” when parents cheer on their children funding them through pornography.

When Britain, then the mightiest Empire in the world, surrendered to the rag-tag Americans in Yorktown in 1781, a British military band played “The World Turned Upside Down.”  How apt:

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  • Matt_SE

    How do you save a society so debased?
    I don’t believe in miracles, so I suppose financial collapse followed by civil war will have to suffice.

  • erisguy

    The modern world is founded not only on the rejection of Christianity and Judaism, but on the rejection of pagan philosophies of self-knowledge and self-restraint. As a culture the West has decided that a life of animality is living life to the fullest and “seizing the day.”
    In my high school in 1970, I knew a boy (of 15 or was it 16) whose ambition in life, oft stated, was to be homosexual prostitute. He waited, I think, until after leaving school.


    ‘He stood up and he was the man of the house when I couldn’t be.’
    Not from the looks of the screen shot! Ms. Lieb will not be investing in I am a proud parent of a Honor Roll student bumper sticker.

  • Ymarsakar

    One story in Japan had a clear line between behavior expected on school territory and behavior expected between a couple in private.
    If there was even a rumour going around that a boy and girl in high school were sneaking off to the gym between classes alone, they would be called up and questioned directly by the Principal. If found guilty or no suitable explanation could be made for this behavior, the school would have to decide upon an appropriate punishment such as suspension or volunteer work.
    Modern Leftist schools think an appropriate punishment is calling the police and locking up two kids fighting each other.
    In Japan, there’s school choice. A school is run like a business, with a CEO, board, and parents that invest in the school for their kids. Thus if you disagree with one school’s policies, there are generally alternatives you can choose in the same area. If your child is punished unfairly, you could use the court system to pressure the school or parent associations to conduct PR against the school board, but you can also choose a school with better policies as a result.
    In the US, I see a lot of coercion. The school is coercing parents and students. Or the government is coercing the school board. Or the Left is coercing parents, kids, and the school teachers. Something like that.
    Without freedom of conscience, we get to the point where suddenly one person’s actions affect ALl of US. And we have to All of US look in on people and manage them. At least when it comes to placing the chain of responsibility on small businesses, it’s easier to cause the feedback system to work.
    Segregation works quite well, although not because they will be equal. It’s very difficult to get humans to act together without a lot of social conditioning or force. Freedom tends to end up with people going down different paths, like gay sex stardom. If you segregate the homosexuals from the heterosexuals, the females from the males, policies can be tailored for better discipline. But if it is the case that some stranger’s actions suddenly has to affect my bean cake, then there’s a problem when people try to fix it. THey can’t treat it the same because it isn’t exactly the same as other problems.

  • Ymarsakar

    As for parents cheering their child on in porn, what do you call the parents of child actors in Hollywood, Book?
    We all know there’s a bunch of homosexual and normal child molestors there, who trade favors in business for sexual favors. The reason why Hollywood takes little girls and turns them into whores is because that’s how the business is structured. The senior staff has the connections and influence. The junior staff has the looks and the beauty marketable product.
    It isn’t porn because it is HBO? High status prostitution jobs are better than low paying prostitution jobs? The excuses turn out to be the same.

  • Caped Crusader

    Once again, and for posterity:

  • Ymarsakar
    From my research, things are copying the Roman model.
    Normally society can ignore individual behavior to a certain extent, until that behavior becomes something the powerful, the rich, or the influential start doing. Then it will corrupt the entire nation. Hollywood has the wealth. Politicians have the influence. And an alliance of both produces the power.

  • barbtheevilgenius

    Two last names, which means the son is illegitimate (but still got Dad’s last name) or Mom has been married more than once. Does this boy’s father know his son is supporting Mom by doing porn?<p>
    Can we talk about how fantastic the economy is, that the much-vaunted “single mom” has to essentially whore out her son to make ends meet?