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High School Star uses Social Media the Wrong Way!

Thoughts By: Coach Brown

When a young person believes their athletic ability is their pass to do whatever they want to do and the adults around them encourage or support the behavior, many problems may arise!

This is the case of Tony Wroten, Jr. that tweeted about how he was chillin' in a three (3) - person class that really never really met and wasn't an official class as part of his school's curriculum.

Now, I know you're saying, "Why would he do that?" Well, the answer is quite simple if you have spent any significant time around teenagers of today. A lot of them, definitely not all of them, have a terrible understanding of what accountability is and the unbelievable power of cause-and-effect. I always tell young people to just think for at least a minute before you say something or do something because usually you will make a better decision if you just think before you speak or act. Try it, it really works!

So when Tony Wroten, Jr. sent out his tweet, he didn't even think about the consequences of his actions and actually caused a major stir in his school district. Again, adults have a responsibility in this too because we cannot treat our star athletes a certain way that is going to cause them to believe they are above the rules and laws of the land. Haven't we seen that outcome already? It's not a pretty picture and it's usually not a positive ending either.

Checkout the article below, it's something to chew on. One Love!

It's become common wisdom to remind everyone to be careful what they transmit across social media. Consider this Tweet sent out in January 2011 by superstar hoops recruit Tony Wroten Jr. exhibit A in what can happen when one isn't quite so careful:

"just me and my 2 bros. we got a 3 person Spanish class. #Niccceeee."

Not surprisingly, officials at Seattle Public Schools, which oversees Wroten's Garfield (Wash.) High, were none too thrilled to get surprising notice that Garfield had established a three-person Spanish tutorial class, particularly as budget cuts force more and more students into crowded classrooms. Soon thereafter, they discovered many more academic irregularities, including the fact that Wroten Jr. and a classmate had been given passing grades for a non-existent class led by the school's athletic director.

According to the Seattle Times' terrific high school sports reporter Mason Kelley, SPS launched a formal investigation into what led to the class being established, eventually finding that Garfield athletic director Jim Valiere had set up the course in conjunction with Garfield principal Ted Howard for Wroten and fellow senior Valentino Coleman, in large part as a way to ensure Wroten would qualify to attend the University of Washington, to whom he has signed a scholarship offer.

Yet the only reason why Howard signed off on the course was because Wroten and Coleman were allegedly given passing grades for a completely non-existent Spanish class led by Valiere in 2010, though both students said the athletic director never formally taught them and rarely did more than offer occasional quizzes in the hallway between classes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Valiere was fired after the conclusion of the investigation, officially notified of his termination on April 11. The longtime athletic coordinator is still fighting his dismissal and has requested a formal hearing into the matter to come.

"The investigation they had going was just to find more dirt to try and bury me," Valiere told the Times. "I was really trying to teach them Spanish. I really wanted them to learn."

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Christian Caple, Wroten Jr. didn't seem to have learn his lesson from the publication of The Times' investigation, as he took back to social media shortly after the publication of Kelley's story to respond ... in a rather inadvisable way. Shortly after Kelley's story was published Thursday, Wroten Jr. responded publicly with this Tweet:

"Lol this guy @masonkelley be lying. Lol we r retarded now? Lol yea OK. I guarantee it wouldn't even b a story if MY name wasn't in it. Lol Its koo though cause you will NEVER get another interview with me. Never again. Now retweet that. Lol."

The superstar recruit has since deleted that Tweet and fired off a series of social media communications telling the world how important Spanish is as a language, insisting that that he fully intends to continue learning Spanish. Evidently he'll do that last part quickly so he can still enroll in Washington in September.

Unfortunately for Valiere's hopes to have his own penalty reversed, there are a number of extenuating conditions that seem to undermine his contention that he was ever licensed to provide an independent study period for the students, let alone help set up the two-student tutorial, which Wroten and Coleman are still partaking in. Howard insisted that Garfield did not ever offer independent study credit, and that he never signed off on any agreement for Valiere to teach the duo himself. In fact, Howard claims that he was the one who initiated the unique Spanish study group for what he considers to be altruistic reasons.

"I felt like we owed those kids and parents credit and also an education," he said. "The question that became a really big issue at Garfield was: How were the kids going to get the credit and not be penalized?" Howard told the Times.

The solution was certainly a unique and virtually unprecedented one, though it's also one that Howard and Valiere almost certainly would have preferred to keep quiet. Unfortunately, Wroten foiled those plans himself in the blink of an eye with one simple Tweet.

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