I believe all agree the given punishment is not the right thing to do.
It does seem more than a touch harsh from what I've heard so far about what supposedly happened.
Although all this may also be nothing more than choreography and puppet theater. Much like when the TV industry fires an exec (with full benefit of the entertainment press) and then hires him back (without fanfare) a month or two later. If that's whats really going down, having that NDA is going to be more of a blessing for this student since he can hang tough and unrepentant without being called to task for refusing to discuss whatever deal I'm pretty sure Dawson (or another school) will ultimately cut him.
But the punishment part is totally separate IMO from what he did do. Something that I still see as unarguably wrong. Whether the punishment fits is a separate topic AFAIC.
Here's the problem.. many judicial systems don't allow for "discretionary leniency" since to do so flies in the face of a theory of "equal justice for all" - which is a fancy way of saying a totally impersonal form of justice that completely ignores the individual or their motivations when it comes to sentencing. So in order not
to have the judicial system perpetuate an injustice, many times we're faced with logical disconnect of pronouncing somebody "not guilty" (even though they are) because it's the only way we can get away with not
punishing somebody for breaking a law.
I always wished that any judicial action (private, board, or court) be conducted in two phases. Phase one is a simple determination to establish if the individual did - or didn't - do what they've been accused of doing. Leave out motives completely. Did they or didn't they? If you can't
prove they actually did - end of case. Everybody gets to go home.
However, if it turns out there's incontrovertible proof they did in fact do the deed, then you then go on to phase two: What, if anything, should we do about it?
This is where I think the real examination of the bigger issues (beyond legal technicalities) should occur. So for this student, I think it would make more sense if somebody could just say (and the student admit) an important access & use rule had been broken - and that there was a solid reason for having such a rule in the first place.
Then we could all get into a good philosophical discussion of personal motives, setting up the future farm team, issues of shared culpability, etc. etc. etc.
would be an appropriate
response in this case.
But please remember - that's not
arguing for justice. Most of us think we want justice. But we don't. It's the last thing
most of us will ever want if we're in trouble. Real
justice is by nature cruel, cold, dispassionate and impersonal. It negates the individual in exchange for a higher truth. So when we go before somebody to receive judgment, we don't want to be treated in such an impersonal manner. This is us
afterall! We want those in authority to see that the case before them (us) is totally unique - a case that is absolutely nothing like anything that ever came before them previously - or ever will again.
In short, we don't really want justice
from those who judge us. We want love
So lets get beyond whether or not what this kid did was wrong. It was.
Once that's out of the way, let's move on and decide how much 'love' we're willing to extend him.
Addendum: in this particular case I'd probably let it go with a few dope-smacks across the back of the head while the school glee club chanted "Dude! What were you thinking
?" in 4-part harmony with the coloraturas
screaming "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" up around high C or C# just to add some computer symbolism. But since corporal punishment is unconstitutional where I live (and I'm not really into hitting people to begin with) I'd probably just let it go with him saying he was sorry and admitting he wasn't thinking clearly.
If he's truly sorry, he won't repeat. If he does...well...we still have a whole pile of nasty responses (and a reduced
supply of love) available for next time should that occur.