Teach your children well

-A A +A
By Geoff Hamill

It’s comforting to live in a small town, where there’s little crime and few problems in the community when compared to larger cities. There are certain things you don’t have to worry about when it comes to your day-to-day life, simply because certain things just happen in big cities, while they typically aren’t a problem in smaller towns.

That’s how I feel, and it’s what I have thought for most of my life. But recently, the problems in our community that are rearing their heads are simply amazing to me.

I hear stories of things taking place in our local public schools, and I can see how even our small town is now having some of the same problems that take place all across this nation.

Students, no, actually, children, are fighting in our schools. I know that’s not new, and kids have always found something to argue about over the years, but it’s getting worse now.

We hear stories of the police having to be called to schools, and now it’s come to the point of state police, as well as local officers, being posted in our high school for security.

Even worse, at a time when no budget has much wiggle room, our school system and our city have seen things get to the point that it’s necessary for a police officer to be stationed at the school on a full-time basis. The expense, if a full-time officer is approved at the high school, will likely be split equally between the school system and the city. I’m sure both of those groups have enough expenses to cover without having to worry about additional security in the form of a police presence at a school, all because a very few people decide to not follow the rules.

So what’s going on? Why are students fighting just because someone’s girlfriend sent a text message to another person’s boyfriend, or maybe a rumor is being spread through text messages about a fight in the school? Do our kids have so little education outside the classroom that our teachers and educators can’t peacefully conduct education in the classroom? It appears to be the case.

I’m a parent, and no, I’m not a perfect one. Nobody is a perfect parent, employee, or anything else. But we do need to spend time with our kids, teaching them to respect each other, to act like the young adults they are once they reach high school.

When I was in school, if I had been involved in a fight, I would not have wanted to go home because I would have been in much deeper trouble at home than I could have ever found myself in at school.  

I’ve spent time talking to some teachers and educators about the problems in today’s classrooms, and to my surprise, I’ve had at least one tell me that some parents have come right out and told them, “When they’re at school, they’re your problem!”

No, they’re actually everybody’s problem. Everybody who pays taxes, that is, and the last time I looked, that included all of us! Our school board and city government shouldn’t have to pay police officers to patrol the halls of a public school, especially one in a small town like ours, because some people just don’t take the time to get involved and discipline their own children, or teach them how to act so that a lot of discipline is not necessary.

I understand that things have reached a point where a police presence is necessary, and that’s sad, but I’m in favor of it. As much as I want to see people behave and act like they know how to get along with others, it’s clear that’s not happening. For the safety of the students who want to get an education and use the school system for its original purpose - getting an education and preparing them for life - it’s clear that some are just not going to follow the rules, and we probably need to have an officer at the high school on a full-time basis.

Of course it’s not all of our students causing these problems, but as the old saying goes, a few bad apples will definitely spoil the bunch. According to Washington County High School Principal Leon Smith, about 95 percent or more of the students in his school want to learn, and that leaves a very few to actually cause the disruptions we are all going to be paying for when it comes time to put a police officer in the school.

It’s probably a good idea that those who refuse to follow the rules just go ahead and get accustomed to dealing with the police now. If the behavior we are seeing from some of the young people in our schools today is any indication, they will likely continue to deal with law enforcement for many years to come.