Gray areas not the answer for our schools
There is no doubt in my mind that when a dilemma comes to the forefront, the best solution will be found in our guidebook, the Bible.
So when a group of folks around town come to me repeatedly about things going on that are no doubt wrong, the best place to go for an answer is found there.
Today, the answer was found in Proverbs 13:24 which reads, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
That pretty much sums it up and is an impossible axiom to argue with for anyone.
All of the rioting and protesting going on around the country can be traced back to this in some aspects I think, in that, if a young person grew up never knowing consequences for bad behavior as a child, they don’t expect there to be any as an adult.
I actually have a very good case in point with one of my own children.
My daughter, Hollyann, was a sweet child and is a pretty dang sweet young adult, yet she grew up to be a liberal, free thinking young lady that does not see eye to eye with her daddy on a lot of things, including politics, gender equality, women’s rights or gay marriage. Let’s just say we have a policy to agree to disagree.
But, you would not have found her walking down the street last week wearing a vagina hat on her head. She almost certainly would have loved to be at one of the marches, but she would have carried herself with respect and dignity.
Why is that? Because when she was little she knew full well what a rod was and how it felt on her backside from time to time.
Now before you jump all over me, I am not saying that all of the women marching should have had their butts warmed as a child. Freedom of speech is a treasured right and peaceful demonstrations have long brought about positive change. (See the Boston Tea Party)
But, when protests turn to violence and violence turns to destruction of property and criminal acts, now we are talking about a whole different story.
I said all of that to get to this; all of the rioting and protests have been on a national stage, but what about the problems we have right here in Bowie County.
Bullying on our school campuses is out of control. Acts of vandalism against teachers, students, school property and private property are becoming way too prevalent, and to many parents that I have talked to, nothing is being done about it.
On one local high school campus, students have had their cars vandalized. Another district has seen a major increase in bullying. Yet another has had a mass exodus of quality teachers. Another still has a problem with the “battle of the classes” wherein students from more affluent families are given much more leeway than students of lower income families.
I talk to teachers, administrators, parents and students, and they all say the same thing. Bullying is rampant and school districts are becoming out of control war zones. We might want to think it is only the big city schools that have these problems, but if we do, we are kidding ourselves.
Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
Is that over simplifying the issue? I think not. If the students over in Hope thought they would suffer consequences for their acts, would the whole world have seen that video taken in the principal’s office?
If students on our local campuses thought they would see consequences for walking through the parking lot and keying cars, would they do it so freely?
If teachers knew they had some form of discipline to control their students, would they be less likely to leave a district, or even leave the profession?
The proof is in the pudding so to speak and as the kids say, I am just keeping it 100.
After talking to one administrator this morning, it seems pretty simple. Too many of our campuses have too much “gray area” when it comes to discipline. It seems to me, “gray area” might just be the problem.
The Ten Commandments didn’t leave any gray area, why not use those same principles in our student handbooks? If a big Bible can sit out on an administrator’s desk, why can’t it be implemented in the book that governs student conduct? Put the rules down in the handbook, define the punishment for the behavior, and stick to it. That seems so simple to me.
When my kids were little, we used a wooden spoon. It was our rod. When I was a student, I felt the sting of a wooden instrument many times myself. Back in those days, lots of kids felt the rod. None of us were traumatized or scarred for life. Maybe if more kids knew there was a rod waiting at the end of their actions, there wouldn’t be as much bullying, fighting and vandalism? Maybe if teachers had a code of conduct and administrators guarding their six, they could do their jobs without the fear of a student getting in their face? Maybe if parents took more responsibility for their student’s actions… so many maybes, too much gray area, not enough enforcement.
Proverbs 13:24 which reads, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
Now, let me say this. One of the greatest parts of my job is covering our local schools, and I think all of us here at the Tribune do that well. We love to fill the pages of your paper with all of the good things going on and all of the achievements of our local students. You can pick up almost any issue and see that fact. So, I write this today with much concern. There is a lot to say about the adage “one bad apple…” and that is what we have here I believe. A few bad students, a few bad administrators, and even a few bad teachers, out of the thousands of students and teachers we have locally, that stand to spoil the image of the whole bunch.
Just like a bad apple, all you have to do is get rid of the rotten ones and the rest of the bunch is golden again.