A local newspaper (The Jewish Star) has an article about a letter that all our local yeshivos were going to send to all parents warning about the dangers of unsupervised behavior by teens during winter vacation. There have been some pretty ugly incidents in the past, and this was a noble attempt to be proactive and warn parents and teens to be on guard. The letter was to have been jointly signed by the principals from every single school - that is, until one of them balked and the plan fell apart.
My kids are not really old enough for me to have these nisyonos to deal with, so maybe it’s not fair for me to comment at all. On the one hand, great idea! Why can’t there be a try for unanimity on more issues. Why did this one fall apart and what can be done to make it work?
On the other hand, who are we kidding? A teen breaking his (or her) head over a gemara with enthusiasm and a desire for ruchniyus usually does not suddenly throw everything away and engage in a week of orgiastic pleasure seeking. That week of fun in the sun is a siman that there is a pervasive rot within that is not being addressed by our schools in an effective manner. Dear Principals – have you ever walked down Central Ave. on Motzei Shabbos or taken a peek in the many pizza places there? And those are probably the more innocuous of hangouts.
A letter may head-off the problem of the moment, but only a 365 day a year effort to create an environment in the school, the home, the community of kedusha and hislahavus is going to have a chance of success with most kids.