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The Blame Game

Yesterday morning I heard a news story about the alarming drop out rates across the country.  It seems that the graduation rate of high school students is below 50% in many of our nation’s larger urban cities.  As if that wasn’t distressing enough, yesterday evening I heard a story about a bunch of third grade students in a small country town that plotted to attack their teacher  *gasps*!  It seems as though the teacher disciplined a student for standing on a chair in class….and it was on!  As many as nine children formulated a plan to take her down.  They had a broken steak knife, handcuffs, three different kinds of tape, ribbon, and a crystal paper weight.  I don’t know how malicious you were in the third grade, but these kids were on a mission to “teach” her a lesson.  They equitably divided the attack duties to make sure someone was covering the windows and someone else was cleaning up the blood when they were done.  What’s really going on?????

It’s so easy for people to dismiss the actions of the third graders as “isolated”, but once upon a time Columbine was isolated.  The incident in Jonesboro, Arkansas where the students pulled the fire alarm and shot at their classmates from the woods was “isolated” once upon a time too.  Be it rural areas or big cities, ghettos or suburbs; there is a problem with our kids and if we keep treating “isolated incidents” while never looking at the big picture it will never get better.  

As is usually the case in Atlanta, several radio shows had people call in to debate who was to blame in the case of the 3rd graders. A lot of people blamed the parents.  Some people blamed video games/rap music, but one fool had the NERVE to blame the teacher!  He actually said “we need to wonder what this teacher did to these kids to make them want to attack her like that.”  WHAT??????  He said he is a parent and he knows sometimes teachers don’t know how to talk to kids.  I am going to go out on a limb and say his kids are probably the main ones disrupting the class and acting like fools!  (Not that I am saying all teachers are perfect, but when you have to spend more time on discipline than you do on educating, you are entitled to lose it every now and then)!

What happened to children respecting adults…regardless?  When I was in school acting out was never an option, and I knew enough to tell my mother if I ever felt that an adult was getting out of pocket with me.  Back talk was not accepted in my house or in the presence of any adult that knew me.  Obviously that whole “respect you elders” thing was lost on these 3rd graders in Waycross.  Who do we blame for the apparent lack of respect with today’s youth?

I am not one to point the finger at music and video games simply because I think if you are on your job as a parent, you monitor and control what your child sees.  Not that you can shield them from all forms of violence, but you should at least keep it in perspective so that they understand the difference between fact and fiction. If you let the television and computer raise your children then you have no idea what they’re being introduced to.  At the same time, you can be the most on point parent out there, but your child can get caught up in some mess due to peer pressure.  Some people say kids will be kids and sometimes they just have to learn the hard way.  Now that crap I don’t believe!  Kids need discipline and structure, and that certainly should begin in the home. 

Thankfully in the case of the 3rd graders in Georgia, nothing happened because an adult was alerted to their plan.  Unfortunately the media attention given to this situation will probably give too many other bebe’s ideas about attacking a teacher they don’t like.  So what do we do?  The world most of us grew up in sadly no longer exists, but who do we blame?



April 2, 2008 - Posted by | Children, Education, Life, Opinion, Society


  1. I was a substitute teacher from 1996-2004. I didn’t do it for the $$$ because I had a full time job, but I enjoyed the kids (K-5th grade), and it was sort of my way of giving back to the community. I initially taught at a school near my home, and knew many of the students and their parents from the neighborhood. They were all great and respectful.

    Then in 2004, I decided to branch out, and sub at another school. Well, all that giving back to the community, feeling good about helping students, etc came to a screeching halt, when I had a 6 yr old 1st grader disrupt the class over and over again. I sent her to the office after she used profanity and refused to sit in her seat. This cute little girl had her hair laid, and was wearing designer clothes that I couldn’t even afford, yet she had an attitude of a 16yr old. Five minutes later she was brought back to the classroom and the asst principal had her apologize to me and the class.

    After the assistant left, this 6yr girl proceeded to tell me “I’ll have my momma take care of you after school, b%#@h”.

    What! Are you kidding me? I don’t come here on my days off, get paid $95 a day to put up with disrespectful kids and school administration, who don’t take threats seriously and who continue to excuse bad behavior. Back in the day, my teacher would have paddled me, sent me to the office for another whoop’n, and then called my mom, who would be ready to give me another whoop’n when I got home. Of course this never had to happen, because I knew there were consequences to my actions, so I wouldn’t think of acting up or disrespecting an adult.

    Needless to say, I resigned from what I called “my volunteer job” that day, and have never stepped foot in a classroom again.

    It is sad that after the Va Tech murders, teachers from all over the country wrote letters saying how they were afraid to fail a student who clearly didn’t need to be passedd on, but the teachers were afraid the student(s) would retaliate in some way.

    What has happened to our kids, our society???

    Comment by cant commit clover | April 3, 2008

  2. They took prayer out of the schools and they stopped letting parents discipline their kids. Babies started having babies and it was down hill from their!

    Comment by divastyles | April 3, 2008

  3. The world started to change when teenage pregnancy hit an all time high.Anytime you have a parent who is 10-12 years older than their own child, that becomes a problem. Anytime a parent seeks to establish ” the best friend” role with their child, that too,becomes a problem and Anytime, WE as parents fail to be involved in our children’s education ( some parents are more concerned about what their child is wearing to school instead of being worried about what their child is learing in school) , that becomes a problem as well. So to answer your question, JerzeeChick, in the case of the 3rd graders,I think that EVERYBODY is to blame at some extent( i do believe that is really does take a village ), however the PARENTS SHARE THE BULK OF THE BLAME,due to their children’s ACTIONS.I give my son a speech everymorning before we walk out the door just to make sure that we are both on the same page. My speech usually starts with something like ” we are going to make GOOD CHOICES TODAY”, and I do not want to get any phone calls from your teacher becasue we know what will happen if I get a phone call, right, and my son says ” yes mommie, i am going to get a butt whoopen” and I say THAT IS CORRECT ;-).The point I am trying to make is that,as Jerzee Chick stated, structure is needed.If we’re not communicating with our children and if the ground rules have not been set at home, then why should WE expect kids to ” act like they know any better”.The process of RESPECTING YOUR ELDERS, has to be taught, this is not a trait that you develop over a period of time.IF YO MAMMA AND YO GRAN MAMMA DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER, THEN WHY SHOULD WE EXPECT YOUR CHILD TO KNOW ANY BETTER?

    Comment by TLG | April 3, 2008

  4. The scary part is that one of them could possibly become the President of the US with his partners in crime (cronyism)being the VP, Speaker of the House and Joint Chief of Staff! Sounds to me like they’re already being mentored for those positions.

    Comment by Shangazi | April 3, 2008

  5. You know what I do blame the parents but they do not deserve all of the blame..I think it is our shifting society…

    Parents are confused, children have a lot more rights now, which is leaving them confused with their roles as disciplinary figures…Apart from physical harm parents do not want to harm their childern mentally so they try alternative ways..with no avail…

    I think you can blame also media(including video games)..but in combination with a lack of parenting..The age that children play and watch violent material is getting younger and younger and all to often…Parents do not take the time to fully educate their children…It use to be that Parents just used censorship as a way to keep children away from that material but..in this day age were media is so readily available that method is just not adequate any more…

    It all goes back to the age old saying..knowledge is power..with knowledge children can have the power to use their cognitive skills to understand and grasp the concept of right and wrong to the highest extent

    Comment by Alex Delarge | April 8, 2008

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