THE DANGER OF CONFORMING TO THE STATUS QUO

Posted by at 8 October, at 17 : 44 PM Print

By Neals Chitan

The term Status Quo is defined as “the existing state of affairs” especially in regards to social and political issues, or the systemic prescribed way of acting or reacting to these issues.

With a definition like that in mind, it is no wonder we frequently see a quick “settling of the dust” attitude back to normal operation soon after the decline of the media frenzy that accompany episodes of antisocial behaviour.

Professionals and laypersons alike are so molded within the comfort zones of their daily normal routines and schedules that even when pushed out of the box by situations and occurrences that demand that kind of thinking, they quickly recoil back into the safety and security of daily existence, leaving it to organically remedy itself.

Status Quo generally demands a prescribed course of action by which a professional or employee must conduct him/herself.  Living in a post-modern 21st century society where the fear of litigation and liability runs the show, seldom is honesty, creativity and relevance ever part of solutions. When tragedy occurs, we quickly summon task forces meetings and emergency conferences to discern the level of our liability and implication, but seldom to take a hard look into cause and effect and how we can seriously stop a repeat. Front page photos, media appearances and political mileage take priority over solid solution seeking discussions, leaving behind flimsy heartless promises.

As a Crime Reduction Specialist, I see it every day in my professional life. A student is shot to death in a high school, quickly triggering the blasting sirens of speeding emergency vehicles as halted traffic gives way to the first responders. Following closely behind of course is a sea of media reporters all ready to stake out on the premises to give the coveted “You’ve heard it first here…”on the evening news.

Immediately following the incident, surveillance cameras and protocols are checked to determine the level of liability faced by administrators because of this incident. Then follow the media interviews and press conferences by these same administrators as they use their subtle linguistic gymnastics to do what the Status Quo demands; extend condolences to the victim’s family, denounce the violence and try to reassure the school community that this is an isolated incident.

But as soon as the victim is laid to rest, life continues as usual. The broadcasted solemn appeals for programs, resources and strategies that can curb such horrific outcomes are muted, as normal everyday living continues and the media cameras race off to cover the next breaking news.

 

 

The question is, as an administrator, do you care enough about the wellbeing of students and the community that you are prepared to halt the daily routines of your job and engage in the evaluations, assessments and social diagnosing needed to realistically curb such antisocial behaviour, thus drastically reducing the chances of a reoccurrence? Unfortunately, the Status Quo does not permit this, life moves on and we go back to our daily routines and responsibilities with our ears perked, nervously awaiting another incident to roll out the same old process one more time.

However, I must say that I have seen individual administrators, although far and few between, whose consciences will not allow them to sleep while a family is undergoing the intense grief of losing a child. They too are experiencing the disappointing loss, the unbelievable grief and negative impact on their community and smiling becomes difficult unless they step out of the box, take a chance, defy the Status Quo and engage discussions, concepts, strategies and programs that will address the real psychosocial issues feeding crime and violence within their demographics.

And so it is in almost every aspect of life. We approach life with a “well it’s not my problem” attitude, functioning only within the lines of regulations of our job descriptions, we enthusiastically welcome the end of our work day so we can separate ourselves from the situation, leaving the victims to hopelessly deal with it.

It is my professional opinion that it is only when the impact of a situation is so severe that it totally dislodges you from your comfort zone while sweeping you away in its trauma, loss and potentially deadly consequences, that you as an administrator will be inclined to challenge the Status Quo and become a champion for real and sustainable solutions.

In the meantime, life goes on! Losers lose and winners win! Who cares?

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