Monday, April 7, 2008


An event was reported last week which should get all our attention. When closely examined this event might just demonstrate a wide array of ills which affects and infects our society. The news story I am talking about was the conspiracy of a third grade class in Georgia to kidnap and kill their teacher.

If you hadn’t heard, a “special needs” third grade class was accused of attempting to hurt their teacher. Their plan was to kidnap her by hitting her in the back of the head with a crystal pitcher, handcuffing her, tying her up further with duct tape, and then stabbing her with a steak knife. The little conspirators decided among themselves what each would bring to the event and then what job each would have including a clean up crew for all the blood. Cute, huh?

The reason for this action was reported to be in retaliation for what the students believed was unreasonable use of authority by the teacher who told one of these precious little darlings to get down from standing on a chair. That sure sounds like a good reason to kill your teacher to me, how about you?

A closer examination of this crime reveals some interesting things. First it points out the absolute imperative that classes be small. This class had a total of eleven students. If there had been thirty or forty, they might have been successful and the teacher would already be dead. The conspiracy included nine of the eleven students. It unraveled when one of the non-conspirators ratted the others out.

Of course none of these children has been subject to arrest because, as everyone knows, eight and nine year olds cannot be held accountable for their actions because they cannot possibly know right from wrong. Well this is where I start to part company with conventional thinking.

I admit that I don’t really know what constitutes a special needs student. It probably is a catchall phrase that allows schools to lump together hard to manage kids and kids with questionable home lives. By separating these children from everyone else, that automatically stigmatizes them. That becomes a social ill.

Next, these kids don’t appear to understand the meaning of the word respect. They cannot come to terms with authority. What do you suppose is their parent’s understanding of authority and law? It wouldn’t take much imagination to believe that the parents are individuals who defy police, ignore law, and generally live their lives on the edge.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that having these miserable parents in any way excuses the actions of their precious offspring. Whether Georgia punishes these children or their parents for this crime or not, one thing is sure, we will have to revisit these very same little hoodlums again for their next crime or crimes at some time in the future. We can only hope that someone doesn’t have to die when we do.

It seems that discipline has disappeared from the lexicon of schools. Those undisciplined little imps are then inflicted on the larger society to create what havoc they can until they are eventually caught, convicted, and spend the rest of their lives warehoused at the taxpayer’s expense in prison.

Parents and schools are not doing their kids any favors by not allowing them to learn from their mistakes. These children in Georgia must be held to account for their actions as well as their parents. We either solve it now or we surely will have to solve it later.

Ron Scarbro April 5, 2008

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