Discipline Issues in Public Schools Need to be Dealt With
A parent of a Barwise Junior High student found out Wednesday morning that there was a threat made by an unidentified student or students. According to a Facebook post by a parent, the principal and staff were aware of the threat, but the parent was told the matter was under control. It so happens, this parent is someone known to me personally. They are more than credible. A WFISD official offered the following statement:
There was a discipline issue that occurred between two students yesterday afternoon. I am not at liberty to go into detail about it because it is a student discipline matter. However, the students involved in the disciplinary issue were not on campus today and there was not a threat to student safety. However, our Chief of Police was at Barwise today as an added precaution in case there were parent concerns. The information circulating on social media today about the school being on lockdown or a student having a gun on campus was not true.
According to the parent I spoke with, it’s a daily issue there. Recently, a student hit the school’s principal and police had to chase the kid down. The breakdown in discipline is one of the cans that seem to get continuously kicked down the road. Our schools are plagued by the very same cancer that has infected nearly every level of our government and society: political correctness. The PC culture dictates that the things that were once a part of our daily lives in the public school system, such as stronger discipline, are no longer allowed. Someone might get their fragile little ego bent out of shape.
Cry me a river.
Several years ago, I happen to be present at an area high school during the school day when a young man began cussing out a young female teacher. He was sent to the office, running his mouth as he walked away of course. I saw this as a teachable moment. I won’t repeat everything I said, but at one point in our little ‘come to Jesus’ meeting in the hallway, the young man said, in so many words, and “you can’t talk to me like that. I’ll have your job you (insert F bomb here)”.
A huge grin came across my face as I informed this youngster that I did not work for the school district. I was just a parent who happened to be in the building and didn’t appreciate how he talked to that teacher. And, I was not afraid to go to jail. I’ve never seen the color spill out of someones face so quickly. He suddenly became very compliant, courteous and even apologetic.
I got that young man's attention. Once he realized he could not threaten me, his whole outlook on the moment changed for the better. Far too many of these youngsters do not respect nor do they fear the authority figures in their schools. Now, before you go off on me about the ‘fear’ reference, I’d like to point out that when I was a student in the 70’s and 80’s, we had a very healthy fear of our teachers and administrators.
It was not a threatening kind of fear, but you knew that if you got caught doing or even saying something you shouldn’t your backside just might be on fire shortly. That’s not to say that every student of that era respected them. We had our share of foul-mouthed, disrespectful little punks. But their numbers were small and they were dealt an iron hand often.
The late Ace Reid was the small engine repair instructor at Hirschi High School during the 1980’s. Get out of line in his class and he didn’t bother sending you to the counselor or principal. He had his own paddle. I’m pretty sure it was made from titanium. I got the business end of it only once. I learned my lesson. And I had mad respect for Mr. Reid.
Corporal punishment was still an option that teachers and principals used often. Our teachers carried themselves with authority. But sadly, that has been replaced by fear, a fear of being sued for just about everything under the sun. The few school officials in recent years who’ve actually spoken to me about the matter say it is fear of legal action that has driven the move to a “kinder, gentler school system”.
We’re paying a mighty high price for our lack of testicular fortitude, now aren’t we? So, what are we going to do about it? It’s a topic I’ve discussed on-air in the past with school officials, school board members and even parents. While most agree we need to restore structure and discipline, everyone seems to fear the legal repercussions of doing so. They fear a lawsuit or several of them from parents. They fear reprisal from the state or federal government. Enough already!
Start busting backsides in the schools again. Corporal punishment should be an option that is used judiciously. Parents, start being parents instead of your child's buddy. If your kid is a trouble maker at school, deal with it at home, too. The schools, the school boards, the legislators-they work for us. We hear lots of talk about putting prayer back in our schools. Your students don’t need anyone’s permission to pray. Just do it. I promise you have the support of many, many people in that area.
We need to insist on discipline measures that work, on an environment of respect, and then support those who must impose the punishment when it is needed. Teachers, administrators, board members, let's get busy educating these kids about more than damn tests. School boards across the country need to take back control. Anyone in the state house or Washington who goes against you, point them out to us, the people. Any elected official who can’t get in step needs to get out.
And what's more, it would be most effective if parents would just show up at the school board meetings. Raise some appropriate hell about it all. But you need to show up in strong numbers. Two, ten, twenty won’t do. If 1,000 show up, you will have their attention and the media’s as well.