When I was a little girl about 5 or 6 years old, my mother instructed me in the proper response to anyone hitting me. She said, “Never, never hit anyone first; but, if they hit you first, hit them back immediately and twice as hard!” Today, at 57, I have had a stint on talk radio preachin’, teachin’, and naggin’ for a span of about 30 years – and that is precisely the advice I have been giving children and suggesting to their parents that they do the same. I have even recommended martial arts for the timid as well as the edgy children because of the development of self-assurance and serious self-discipline.
Along comes the public-school system and undermines all of that. John Longenecker of Lakewood, Calif., sent me this letter: “You wanted reports on school malfeasances; here’s one. Picked up my kids in Lakewood this afternoon, and my beautiful, loving children reported to me a new Bellflower School District policy that specified, among other things, that both children caught fighting will be disciplined and that the discipline could be a citation that could run as high as $800.
“This is a new twist to a long-standing USD policy to punish both bully and victim, thereby punishing the victim twice. I object to teaching my children not to resist violence. I object to the school district’s inability to discern who bullies whom. I object to their victimizing anyone’s child twice. I object to empowering the bully to hold my child (and his academic record) hostage. I object to their unwillingness to share how this policy can be changed by parents (taxpayers).
“For the first time, I am referred by headquarters (the buck passed) down the chain of command to the principal – as if he has the power to hear and change policy.”
In response to Mr. Longenecker’s letter, I called the Bellflower School District headquarters (for clarification and corroboration) only to get the usual response when I call any public school or district headquarters: “Oh, sorry, I know nothing about that and the only person who does is in a meeting and can never be disturbed – that is our policy.”
In response to my on-air “rant” about this issue, many parents from across the country wrote me with similar complaints – most having given up trying to influence the system: “I just shrugged it off at the time and threw my hands in the air and let it go. I think now that was a mistake (after her fifth-grade child was suspended for having been hit and not hitting back … it was enough that he was “in the fight”). It just seems to make life easier for your kid in public schools if you don’t make too many waves. No excuse … I know. Thanks for the reality check.”
Another parent, this one from San Diego, wrote about the four boys who ganged up and attacked her son and hurt him seriously. Her boy, based on what he was taught by the school district, did not raise a hand in his own defense, and neither did his group of friends who stood by. Some adult passing by rescued her son. “As it stands,” she wrote, “the boys who attacked my son were just ‘slapped on the wrist.’
“Victims have no rights whatsoever and are not allowed to defend themselves. They are treated almost as bad as the criminal. My son said that he was interrogated the following day by the school police. My son and his friends were commended for not fighting back. I can’t believe that if you are being attacked you can’t defend yourself, you just have to take it and pray you don’t get hurt enough to kill you. What is this world coming to?”
Her boy is suffering from various stress disorders.
My request is that you parents vociferously defend yourselves and your children. Barbara Brink did just that and won! Her eighth-grade, black-belt son was attacked from behind at school. He didn’t get to use his martial arts expertise because he was surprised from the back and pinned to the ground. He and the attacked were both suspended for three days for fighting.
“I became instantly ferociously angry and was at the school in less than five minutes to find my son in the principal’s office very upset. The assistant principal told me that he had witnessed the attack, but had to suspend my boy anyway because he had ‘participated in the fight.’ Needless to say, the entire school heard my protests and I did not stop until the superintendent of the school district was on the phone. My argument was just like you expressed – ‘How can you expel someone for defending themselves? Aren’t you punishing the innocent?’ To keep my son’s increasingly enraged mother calm, the superintendent agreed to let him remain in school and the attacker was suspended for five days.
“I am proud of that day. I taught my son that someone in his life would stand for what was right and, more importantly, stand up and protect him. To this day, he stands for what is right and is, by the way, now graduating from a University in May with a computer engineering degree.
“Thank you, Dr. Laura, for fighting for all that is right.”
One particular public-school teacher explained that teachers don’t like to get involved at the “who dunnit” level because of litigation issues, not being backed up by the administration and the fact that teachers are desirous of teaching, not playing “prison guards.”
I think there is one more issue here – that of the left-wing indoctrination of children to be subservient and not stand up to defend each other, much less themselves, from attack. You can readily see this philosophy being expounded on the national campaign trails by those who don’t seem to have the clear vision of evil-versus-good and the moral obligation to stand between evil and the innocent; the tendency to define all violence as bad, such that when a country defends itself against suicide bombing of innocent children, it becomes morally equivalent in their minds to targeting a terrorist in his car; the argument that because America did not find a nuclear bomb in Saddam’s closet the mass graves of innocent Iraqis don’t qualify as sufficient motivation for defense from the outside.
This is, in my opinion, a concerted effort to morally enfeeble our children – and that will not only weaken our country. It will make the world more available for evil to have a triumphant reign.