Make this about the kids

Scrap over a parent's rights creates bad example for students

If this editorial page thought a legal gun owner was being wrongly discriminated against, we’d be the first to speak up.

We wouldn’t necessarily be the loudest, either. Conservative talk show host Austin Rhodes never shies away from vociferously supporting the Second Amendment.

Yet, it should speak volumes that neither of us believe Tanya Mount is such a victim.

The Hephzibah mom filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging McBean Elementary School banned her because she’d posted a photo of her concealed weapons permit on Facebook.

Well, yes and no. The chronology is right, but that’s about it.

The truth seems to be that school officials already had concerns about Mount’s activities as a volunteer at her child’s school. They said she would wander beyond where a volunteer should, disrupt classes and otherwise impose herself. Rhodes reported she was described by sources as “demanding,” “domineering,” “unreasonable” and more.

Rhodes also reported that Mount mentioned her concealed weapons permit in a discussion with a school official involving protecting her child from bullies.

When the permit subsequently showed up in social media, it’s likely that school officials – no doubt jittery after high-profile school shootings nationally over the last year or so – decided to err on the side of caution.

It does not appear, in short, that her ban arose from the permit alone.

Sadly, the affair has made national and even international news, with the perception that all it took to be banned from the school’s campus was the flaunting of a legal gun permit. Again, that appears to be far from true.

What is undeniably true is that parents and schools ought to be infinitely better partners than this.

It used to be so. Time was, when parents and schools worked hand-in-glove to provide children with the best education they could. If a child acted up, the adults would stand united – and the child could count on getting punished at home and school. Point made. Twice. Likely never to be forgotten.

Today, however, we’re all about our rights in this country, rather than our responsibilities. Assertiveness and the assertion of one’s “rights” has risen to the level of a religion. So the child no longer is the issue; it’s whether the adults are acting within the law, or being “dissed.”

Besides getting things off track, that creates a horrible example for kids.

The spirit of volunteerism isn’t furthered by the imposition of unwelcome pursuits, either. If you want to help, then ask how best to do it. If the best way to help is to step out of the way, then be willing to do that, too.

Nothing and no one is served by figuratively pushing your way down the school hall, least of all a child’s education.

Let’s drop the swag and pick up a broom or a pencil or a book and make this about the kids, shall we?

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon