Saving the 300

October 4th, 2013 by Andrea Bennett

A former NFL player turns the trashing of his house into a teaching opportunity – but not every parent is buying it.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

While former NFL player Brian Holloway and his family were away over Labor Day weekend, more than 300 teenagers broke into his home and trashed parts of his 197-acre property. According to the local Register-Star, the kids “found it acceptable to trash the house – listed for sale – and steal some of its contents. They broke windows, spray painted and made holes in the walls, urinated on the carpets, scarred the wood floors by dragging kegs across them. They left their party garbage behind.” Most horribly, they stole the gravestone of Holloway’s grandchild, who died at birth.

They also didn’t make identifying themselves difficult, since they Tweeted and Instagrammed themselves all over the house – even holding the grave marker.

Holloway responded to the mess by launching an unusual website, called Help Me Save 300. It posts the Tweets, Twitpics and the names the kids call themselves on social media – but not necessarily, he says, to catch them (although NPR reports that the site is helping police in their investigation).

In fact, he’s hoping to “save” them. He wants “to turn this moment into a movement” by making the kids “ambassadors” who reach out to others to talk about accountability. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is. He had been planning a party for active and retired military personnel and their families – about 1,000 people – and invited the teens that trashed his house to show up and clean for the party. (Of the 50 volunteers who showed, only one had attended the party.)

But now, according to The New York Post, parents of the kids are threatening Holloway with lawsuits, saying that outing their kids is jeopardizing their ability to get into college. “You would not believe the calls that have come in,” Holloway told the Post, “threatening to firebomb me or hurt or sue me – any manner of things.” Only a handful of parents have actually apologized for their kids’ behavior, saying they hadn’t known about the party or that their kids lied to them.

Holloway, the father of eight kids, had a response that was a bit closer to what mine would have been. “You’re going to press charges against me? C’mon, now. If that were one of my children, they would be doing a year’s worth of apologizing.” I’d march my kid right over to that house and start cleaning. What would you do?