I like to talk and some people tell me I’m pretty good at it. I even like to argue different points of view. I’m something of a debater.
But there comes a time when the debate has to end a time to act. In the wake of serious violence at public schools in recent months, it wasn’t too surprising that school officials in Decatur, Illinois acted swiftly when students started a brawl at a football game. The students were expelled.
What is surprising, is that the school officials are taking the flak while the out-of-control students are being portrayed as victims. Jesse Jackson actually defended the students’ actions saying they didn’t use weapons.
So violence is only wrong if you use a gun? It’s okay to bash people with your fists? It’s true enough that many schools have been overreacting. In Decatur the expulsion was originally 2 years. Maybe that goes a little too far. Now they’ve chopped the penalty down to one year.
But one cannot commit arbitrary violence and then expect official reaction to always be perfectly proportionate. Understand where parents and schools are coming from with these zero-tolerance policies. Does having a tolerant society mean we tolerate violence?
Unfortunately that’s too often the message as self-proclaimed experts and politicians endlessly debate the issue. We can’t wait for some kind of educational utopia. As parents, we don’t have that luxury. Our kids must be safe right now if not in public schools, then in private schools or taught at home. Our kids are too important.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.