Friday, April 4, 2008

Free willies

We've all heard about kids being tossed out of school for such major transgressions as bringing nail clippers to class or sporting a rubber sword with a Halloween costume. I even commented recently about the ridiculous story of a youngster being severely punished for buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. Now, there's an investigation under way in Johnstown because three kindergarten boys allegedly waved their privates at a female classmate and suggested that she touch them. I'm not saying this is proper conduct, but we also have to remember that these are children of a young age who are still very curious about their own bodies and the bodies of others. The school in question has actually called in the police to investigate. Are you kidding me? They're wasting the time of the police department to probe a "willie waving" by 5-year-olds? Let me tell you how this would have been handled if I and a couple of friends had done this at good old Claysville Elementary back in the '60s. The teacher would have dragged us, possibly by our ears, up to the principal's office, and Mr. Haberlan, after extracting our confessions, would have given us a good chewing out and instructed us about the errors of our ways. At that point, he would have called our parents, secure in the knowledge that they would see to it that we got a sound butt-whipping, which we would have. We would have felt shame, and we would not have done it again. Sounds a lot simpler and more sensible than calling in the cops.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were the parents of these boys, I would be outraged that the cops were called. At 6 years old, you don't know any better. Paddle them and explain that what they did was wrong and everything is taken care of. But to call the cops?

There was a time when the teachers helped raise the kids they taught. It was all about book knowledge but they taught lessons of life as well. A lot does have to do with the minority of this country. They're the ones that say paddling/spanking is child abuse and it has to end. Tell me how a time out can be more effictive? Send them to their rooms. . .they'll thank you because now they can watch TV, play video games, and chat on the computer. I think it's about time the majority overrules the minority and bring back the old fashioned values!

April 4, 2008 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of the problem is that nowadays, teachers have to teach their students proper conduct that they have not been taught at home. I have many schoolteacher friends who complain long and hard about the lack of common sense, a work ethic and sense of accountability in kids beginning, yes, as young as 6. It's true that you can't control your kids every second of their lives or be responsible if they pick their noses and eat it, but I think parents long ago abdicated a lot of their responsibility in the name of work and leisure activities.

April 4, 2008 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Scott Beveridge said...

Brant - school officials have no business hitting kids.

April 4, 2008 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Never suggested they should. But I do believe parents should avail themselves of that option when appropriate as to age of the child and the infraction. I was paddled with regularity by my elementary school teachers. Couldn't keep my mouth shut. Go figure. But I certainly don't bear any lingering emotional scars from that experience. And I do agree with the previous person who said that teachers are often left to deal with problem youngsters who aren't getting the guidance they should from their parents.

April 4, 2008 at 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was paddled on three occasions in grade school. Paddling was still common when I graduated in 1967. I don't recall anyone climbing to the top of a tall building and picking off pedestrians with a rifle because he or she was paddled in school.

April 4, 2008 at 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

School 1967 vs. School 2007

Scenario: Jack goes hunting before school, gets to school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1967 - Vice principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his own
shotgun to show Jack.

2007 - School goes into lockdown, the FBI is called, Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees
his truck or gun again. Counselors are called in to assist traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1967 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2007 - Police are called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. They are charged
with assault and both are expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.

1967 - Jeffrey is sent to the principal's office and given a good paddling. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2007 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets
extra state funding because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his

1967 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a
successful businessman.

2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang.
State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes
to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some Aspirin to school.

1967 - Mark shares Aspirin with the school principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 - Police are called and Mark is expelled from School for drug violations. His car is
searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high-school English.

1967 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by local human rights group. Newspaper articles appear
nationally explaining that making English a requirement for graduation is racist. US Civil
Liberties Association files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English
teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up
mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover Independence Day firecrackers, puts them in a model
airplane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.

1967 - Ants die.

2007 - Homeland Security and FBI are called and Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism.
teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated,
and Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying,
and gives him a hug to comfort him.

1967 - Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.

2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in
federal prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

April 6, 2008 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I went to a Catholic elementary school in the 60s. If anyone reading this was alive then, I won't need to say any more. In the interest of not rambling on and on, suffice it to say that I was spanked by both the nuns and subsequently by my parents who took the nuns' word that I had misbehaved to the point that corporal punishment was justified. Different era.

There are so many intertwining reasons for the knee-jerk reaction to the "willy wavers." Certainly, there are the sociological reasons already mentioned: little or no adult supervision or role models, parents unwilling to teach their children rules, manners, responsibility, accountability, and so on.

And then there are the teachers who are put in the unenviable spot of instilling these values into the youngsters because no one else will. Even though the parents of this type of child won't say it, they are happy that the teachers sometimes take on this role. Until the teacher crosses whatever invisible line the parents consider being "too much." The result: litigation. And the school will lose.

I did some substitute teaching several years ago. During orientation, it was stressed almost to the point of ridiculous, that you never, ever, ever touch the children in any way. I'm no child molester and I would never hurt a child. But if a first-grade student took a shine to me because I played a little ball with them on the playground during recess and then wanted to hug me because he or she never had a man actually show an interest in them in a parental way, then yes, I will return the hugs these innocent children offer.

I digress. These insane, over- the-top reactions, the zero-tolerance policies that every school has been forced to adopt are the direct result of litigation. Many parents today don't want to be actual parents to their children, but when the kids break the rules at school, the school officials are left with the problem of how to handle the situation so as not to piss off the parents, some insipid special interest group, or God forbid, the ACLU. This leaves no wiggle room for any type of semantics, variability, discussion or compromise. So the schools can't tolerate anything.

I think zero-tolerance policies like this are stupid, but I certainly understand why they are in place. Litigation. It's all abou the lawsuit. This is why schools shut down as soon as it snows for more than fifteen consecutive minutes. Let one school bus slip on the road or, God forbid, slide into a ditch. Even though no one might be hurt, the deluge of lawsuits would be filed before the kids return to school the following day.

It's the same for kids bringing vitamins to school, aspirin, cold medicine...whatever. The schools really have no choice.

Again, I digress. Things have gotten out of hand with this sort of thing. Parents need to be parents, not buddies, friends, or absentees.

Let me sum it up. I was in a laundromat years ago, and my then 5-year-old son was running amok and acting like a maniac. I grabbed him and whacked him on his butt - firmly. I turned around and there was a man looking at me. I was getting ready for the inevitable confrontation about my right to discipline my child when he said, "If you don't spank them, society will." Profound.

April 6, 2008 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

The last two comments say it all about our society today. It's just nuts.

April 6, 2008 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edgar Snyder wants YOU!

April 6, 2008 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Scott Beveridge said...

There was a lot of violence in the 1960s, too.
Charles Whitman, for example, took out 14 people during a shooting rampage from a 32-story tower at the University of Texas at Austin on Aug. 1, 1966.
Society has always been nuts.

April 7, 2008 at 11:38 AM  

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