I’ll pray for the student, that he will find the ability to adjust more successfully and peacefully to the world in which he must live.
I must say, with all due respect, that I disagree very strongly with the punishment given to this student. Your description tells us that the trip effectively is a culmination of a year long process of fundraising, planning and preparation. To punish this boy, a person who has known psychological problems, by making him feel that an entire year’s worth of effort by the student has been a waste of his time is a profoundly bad idea.
I am not suggesting that unacceptable behavior should be tolerated or ignored. I am saying that to make this person lose a once-a-year reward because of something he did one day seems to me severely unreasonable and almost certain to be counterproductive. Such a punishment seems to me to be certain to foster only resentment and a marked decrease in the student’s willingness to work toward anything. Unless he has been expelled from school for the recent misdeed, unless it was THAT serious a violation, then he should not suffer the loss of the only reward for a year’s worth of preparation.
I will pray that this student might find it in his troubled heart to forgive the adults who have made him pay with the loss of one year’s privileges for the misdeeds of a day. To exclude him from this positive event, to isolate him from his classmates that day, to make that year-long anticipated happy day a day of shame, disappointment and humiliation is not something one may reasonably expect such a student to understand and accept. He will see this as excessive and frankly discouraging. I will pray that his discouragement and disappointment pass, and that he does not regard this punishment as the frank excess that it seems to me to be.
Again, to be clear, I am not saying that misbehavior should be ignored. I am saying that if he is permitted to remain in school, then he should be permitted to experience the culmination of an entire school year’s worth of effort. Only a misdeed so grave and so profound that it warrants expulsion should lead to this sort of punishment for such a student. Especially given that the academic year is about to end, one can only expect that thoughts of discouragement and distrust will occupy his thoughts all Summer whenever he reflects back on the school year.
This punishment is likely to diminish his ability to work toward any long-term goal, since he will regard long-term investments as things that authorities may simply destroy due to errors in judgement and defects in self-control that this student is expected to experience sooner or later. I’m not describing how it ought to be for you or me, or for the school administrators. I am describing how I think it will be for the student, since it is his education and development that ought to be the purpose of how he is treated.
I am Catholic.
Peace be with you, and with the student for whom I will pray more.
EDIT: If you think anyone in a position of authority might benefit from what I’ve written here, then please feel free to pass along to such a person or persons what I have written. If this boy still could be included, then I would hope that changes could be made to plans for how he is being treated in this matter. A different plan to correct his behavior is called for. Losing that trip will, at best, do no good, but more likely do harm.
It is late and others are asleep in the house, but I will gently sing Ave Maria for this boy.
I will sing also for his grandmother, and for all who are trusted to care for him.
Peace be with you.