'A teachable moment'

'Charlie Rape gang' case shows how schools and society have changed

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We’ve already laid a pitiful list of society’s problems and needs on the schoolhouse steps. Hunger. Parental neglect. Child abuse. Rampant “behavioral disorders.” Runaway self-esteem that creates little monsters of egoism.

It’s a tragedy and injustice, then, when you add criminality to the mix and expect educators to clean that up too.

But there it is, however unfair. The only question is what they’ll do about it.

The short answer is, they’re still learning what to do about it. New generations have unique ways of changing the nature of the beast.

Take the “Charlie Rape Gang” case at Lakeside Middle School.

Five students using that moniker – borrowed, appropriately enough, from a dog – brazenly assaulted classmates recently by forcing themselves on their victims and simulating sex acts on them.

Yet initially, they received but a couple days’ suspension and weren’t immediately referred to authorities for prosecution. Then, after their days off, they reportedly threatened a whistleblower.

Parents approached the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the school board, and on Wednesday five Lakeside students were rung up on battery charges in juvenile court. Two were expelled.

If you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? We engaged in horseplay when we were in school,” there are a couple of serious problems with that train of thought.

First, “horseplay” is decidedly different today. Kids nowadays are bombarded by the entertainment media and Internet – notably social media – with unseemly adult images and situations, sooner than ever before and in ways unlike anything experienced in all of human history. It’s simply a whole different reality than when many of us were in school.

Second, let’s be honest: We put up with a lot of nonsense in the “good old days” that we shouldn’t have. Assault is assault. Battery is battery. Harassment is harassment. The unwanted touching of others, particularly in a provocative manner, simply is not “play” of any kind, horse or otherwise.

The district’s hearing officer, in the wake of what happened in court, may revisit the case to determine if more discipline is warranted.

Superintendent Charles Nagle says, “We’re not going to have this behavior in our schools.”

We talked with him about all this, and we believe he means it. Fact is, he says, when the district gets complaints about disciplinary actions, it’s usually because the administration has come down harder on a student than someone would like.

Still, Nagle acknowledges that, “Maybe we did drop the ball.”

“We definitely will be using this as a teachable moment.”

The main lesson – for everyone – is that while students are being educated, they are also being socialized. Whatever they see or hear in the entertainment world, there must be strict standards of behavior in our schools – as well as our theaters, malls and everywhere else.

It’s not the educators’ fault that such incidents encroach on the learning environment. It’s just another huge responsibility we’ve dumped on their steps.

But they need to be acutely aware of what that responsibility entails.

We sure don’t envy them.

Comments (12)

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avidreader
2606
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avidreader 03/02/12 - 07:12 am
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Well said!

Well said!

wondersnevercease
9155
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wondersnevercease 03/02/12 - 07:17 am
0
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Amen!

Unpublished

Amen!

seenitB4
72454
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seenitB4 03/02/12 - 07:29 am
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Kids today see it--smell

Kids today see it--smell it--experience it--play with it---(it) is adult ways.....tv-media-internet-porn-movies-.....leave very little to the imagination....a child can sit at home & watch EVERY sex act that was ever thought of......
Sooo they learn at an early age.....there isn't any way a parent can patrol 24/7.......if they block it at home they just go to a friends house....they learn how to get around blocks.

So what is the answer.....the internet won't go away.....tv/media won't stop with the sex adds......do you see why birth control is more important than ever.

charlesaiken
16
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charlesaiken 03/02/12 - 08:42 am
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2

This is the result of 40

This is the result of 40 years of the entitlement mentality being taught by liberals/progressives, democrats and many black leaders.

impossible
120
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impossible 03/02/12 - 10:54 am
5
1

There is nothing new under

Unpublished

There is nothing new under the sun. There has always been temptation, sin, virtue and human nature. Oh yes, and God. Our government and corrupt ACLU have taken God out of the school - at least the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation and culture were founded. Now we have "moral neutrality" in the schools and society where anything goes. We are reaping what we have sown. In November we have a chance, perhaps our last chance, to correct our course. Obama and his administraton make Clinton and Nixon look like saints by comparison. Some have said if we don't oust Obama in November, we may never have a presidential election again. Obama is hubris gone mad.

impossible
120
Points
impossible 03/02/12 - 10:57 am
3
2

P.S. Thanks editor. How odd

Unpublished

P.S. Thanks editor. How odd that the usual carpers have not commented on this editorial and on the letters today. What do you suppose accounts for that?????

constitutionnow
0
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constitutionnow 03/02/12 - 11:04 am
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With the removal of God from

With the removal of God from the schools in 1962 and increased federal involvement in public education from the mid 1800s to present, (i.e. compulsory schooling, textbook selection, cirriculum standards, etc.), we can see that the federal government has done the same thing that they do to nearly everything they touch, they have nearly destroyed it. One would be hard pressed to find one thing that the federal government does well. When we teach our children that they are nothing more than higher forms of animals, why should we expect thier behavior to rise above that animalistic standard? Should we institute a full-fledged bible cirriculum in our schools? Perhaps not, but a minimal standard of morals would be nice. We have hog tied our educators to the point that there is no restraint present in today's children. In days gone by, there were stigmas attatched certain behaviors and decisive action by the administration should one step out of line. While I certainly don't advocate beating a child, I do believe that there should be swift and decisive consequences to our actions. When we as a nation decide that there should be a minimal level of morality instead of practicing moral relativity, I don't see anything changing.

itsanotherday1
34565
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itsanotherday1 03/02/12 - 11:08 am
1
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"Second, let’s be honest: We

"Second, let’s be honest: We put up with a lot of nonsense in the “good old days” that we shouldn’t have. Assault is assault. Battery is battery. Harassment is harassment. The unwanted touching of others, particularly in a provocative manner, simply is not “play” of any kind, horse or otherwise."

So true. I was telling a friend the other day that I am embarrassed to admit some of my adolescent behavior that was just fun and games at the time. Children do mindless, stupid things; and we as adults need to set firm limits with enforcement.

Riverman1
70397
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Riverman1 03/02/12 - 11:32 am
0
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I didn't realize a judge

I didn't realize a judge could review and give school punishments such as suspensions and so on? I got suspended once in high school and I should have gone to court with it because I wasn't the one who wrote on that desk about Mrs. B. Are we going to refer decisions by school principals to court as a new policy?

impossible
120
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impossible 03/02/12 - 11:42 am
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I spoke too soon. A spectre

Unpublished

I spoke too soon. A spectre has appeared in comments on a letter to the editor as another opportunity to bad mouth religion.

Riverman1
70397
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Riverman1 03/02/12 - 11:50 am
0
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The whole point of this

The whole point of this Marbury v. Madison like Judicial Review of school decisions has been missed. Do we apply this judicial review to all grade levels and all educators? Do we also encourage civil lawsuits of decisions by school principals? Teachers?

TParty
6003
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TParty 03/02/12 - 01:01 pm
1
6

This is what happens when

This is what happens when Rush Limbaugh is the voice of the fringe right, and his desire to watch college co-ed students perform activities on the web cam, or his travels around the world with lots of Viagra. Maybe that's where the kids get it from, Rush Limbaugh.

dichotomy
26575
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dichotomy 03/02/12 - 01:30 pm
3
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"Hunger. Parental neglect.

"Hunger. Parental neglect. Child abuse. Rampant “behavioral disorders.” Runaway self-esteem that creates little monsters of egoism."

I agree with some of what was said in this piece, but much of the problem is a self-inflicted wound by the schools and the teachers. We didn't dump anything on the teachers. They helped cultivate this crop.

Maybe if the education system had not so willingly jumped into all of the other things they would not be in this position.

Maybe the schools never had any business feeding kids 2 and 3 meals a day.....many of whom we already subsidize their parents to feed them anyway. The schools jumped on this idea, even bragging about how many kids they feed each day.

Maybe the schools should not have supported mainstreaming kids with "behavioral disorders". The term itself spells out that they will be unacceptably disruptive to the rest of the children and the results prove that they are.

Maybe some of the busybody teachers should not have involved authorities by reporting "suspected" abuse when what really happened was a parent giving a kid a good couple of whacks across the bottom for unacceptable behavior. Something we need more, not less, of. Child abuse is usually readily apparent and should, of course, be reported. But just because little Johnny comes to school and says "my daddy hit me" does not indicate child abuse. Little Johnny may have just gotten a spanking he very much deserved.

And maybe the teachers and schools should not have become complicit in the "self-esteem" game. Well actually they invented it. They promoted students to the next grade who didn't really cut the mustard and eventually they give them a diploma when they can't read above the 8th grade level, do basic math, and know absolutely nothing about history, geography, or social studies. We need more "F, FAIL, SEE YA NEXT YEAR for your third try at the 6th grade".

The liberal educator community gleefully jumped on with their full support as all of these other things were occurring. Now, when the combined results are coming to fruition the teachers are denying any part of the blame and have abdicated ALL responsibility to maintain discipline and classroom decorum. So now we have arrived at the point where the kids go straight from elementary school to juvenile court, or in some cases, "tried as an adult".

We didn't dump all of this on the teachers and schools. In many cases they willfully and purposely involved themselves in these situations and made a huge mess of it all. They gleefully RELIEVED parents of their responsibility, even for feeding their own kids, and set in motion their liberal ideology of mainstreaming and "positive reinforcement", and the results really mucked up motivation, discipline, and personal and parental responsibility. I'm sorry teachers, but this is truly a case of reaping what you sow. And what have we learned? Educators, child psychologists, and all levels of government do NOT know much at all about how to raise well mannered, polite, educated, and responsible kids. Everything they do encourages just the opposite.

You want a formula to cure discipline in schools? Here it is.....a parent who spanks, a teacher who whacks with a ruler and punishes minor infractions by keeping offenders an extra hour after school, an assistant principal who uses a paddle, and a principal who expels for the rest of the year (no alternative school...see you next year). We might have a few children with "traumatic" memories of having their butts turned cherry red by a strong loving parent, but that's better than the trauma of YDC or coming out of school totally unequipped to function in the workplace.

JMHO

Riverman1
70397
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Riverman1 03/02/12 - 03:06 pm
0
0

TP said, "Rush Limbaugh,

TP said, "Rush Limbaugh, fringe right"

LOL....About as fringe as Aunt Bee and apple pie.

c6murphy
0
Points
c6murphy 03/02/12 - 03:24 pm
2
0

Dichotomy is correct that

Dichotomy is correct that schools have not business in running soup kitchens for parents too lazy to feed their kids, however, the schools didn't just one day decide to do all these things, go to the legislature and congress, they are the ones that fostered these things on the school system.

As for the parents, they should have to do community service to pay for their children's "free" lunch and surrender money off their EBT cards. This is totally out of hand, these entitled people, of whom I have watched quit jobs simply to qualify for earned income credit need to be held accountable. Why not let them pick up trash on the side of the road, and get paid by the bag, after all most of them are selling things by the bag. It's time to stop this madness and tell these people enough is enough.

It's also time to get rid of administrators who think two days suspension is a serious punishment. Gee, why didn't she just deny them their second dessert.

I hope the parents of the abused kids sue the parents of the abusers, it's about time somebody is held responsible for the actions of their children.

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 03/02/12 - 09:47 pm
1
0

Charlesakien - "This is the

Charlesakien - "This is the result of 40 years of the entitlement mentality being taught by liberals/progressives, democrats and many black leaders."

Your comments makes about as much sense as the acts committed by those mentioned in this letter. Has less to do with your political agenda and more to do with parents being parents.

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