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From the Editor

Spare the Rod...


By:  David Deschesne

Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal

June 27, 2012


My wife and I do not have cable or satellite TV reception at the house. (we do not even have a digital tuner to pick up WAGM-TV). With all of the garbage that is pawned off as legitimate television these days, we have decided not to financially support such pathetic displays of ignorance and brainwashing by paying a monthly bill. Ergo, I’m functionally illiterate when it comes to discussing the current television programs most of you get suckered into consuming on a continual basis.

With that said, the only time we get to see mainstream television programming is when we’re sitting at the counter at Harvest Market eating our lunch.

Last Wednesday we were at Harvest Market watching one of those tabloid news programs featuring a story of an overweight elderly lady who had volunteered as a bus monitor for public school students. They played a video of some students taunting the old lady about her weight to the point that she began to cry. The students then continued to taunt and make fun of her, using vulgar language and laughing about it.

Mere words can hurt much worse than physical hitting. If bullies are going to set out to deliberately hurt someone else, they need to be dealt with in the same manner. It was not too long ago that those punks would have been slapped in the side of the head by the bus driver and thrown off the bus.

This may seem a bit harsh a response given today’s lackadaisical, mind-numbed teaching methods that prefer to use philosophy to deal with unruly teens. I can assure you that anyone who watched that video of those young punk bullies would agree that no amount of Socrates or Aristotle was going to change their wicked ways. More advanced methods are needed for such rude behavior.

So, am I advocating for slapping kids who are being bullies and don’t know when to stop? Well, at times, yes. You see, when those kids grow up, believing there are absolutely no consequences for their actions, they will ultimately act them out in the real world. These types of punks will eventually end up in a bar or some other venue of ill repute and begin running off at their mouth the way they were allowed (taught to!) in public school. Out here in the real world, in those situations, I can assure you the people they will be dealing with will slap them in the side of the head. Worse yet, they’ll probably lay them out on the ground with a concussion, broke ribs or worse.

I’ve provided sound and PA system rentals for the past twenty-five years, many of those times in bars and nightclubs. I’ve seen a few fights and I can assure you none of them were resolved by citing the philosophical works of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato or Descartes. As much as today’s emasculated teachers want to believe the feel-good tripe they’ve been sold about dealing with bullies and unruly students by talking things through, being nice and using philosophy, time and again it has been shown to be woefully ineffective on some students.

I’m not suggesting we turn schools into veritable bar brawls every time a bully runs off at the mouth. I get bullied on a regular basis by people too ignorant to keep up with me intellectually so they resort to calling me names. I just shrug them off and go in the other direction, or delete their e-mails, whichever the case may be. But, when ignoring and walking away doesn’t work, the schoolyard bully may need to be communicated with using techniques he/she can understand.

School teachers today have become discipline-neutral. They are no longer allowed to have control over the students they are charged with teaching. In many schools in this area, the student body is essentially an unruly mob from 8:30 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. Teachers have been relegated to the position of babysitter and a “trip to the principal’s office” offers none of the fear and suspense it once did several decades ago.

If that elderly bus monitor on the television program—or the bus driver, for that matter— was unable to do anything to straighten out those kids then why even have a bus monitor? Kids are pretty smart when they want to be and they figure out real fast when there are no real consequences to their malevolent actions.

Of course, the school issued a statement that they would be taking “disciplinary action” against those punk students, but today that essentially means spending an hour in detention after school with your laptop computer playing video games and sending text messages to your friends.

Public schools are raising a batch of criminals due to a new-age teaching philosophy that doesn’t work. That good kids do make it through public school unscathed and learn anything is a credit to their good moral character and their upbringing by their parents.

The criminals public schools create will eventually graduate and go to prison. It is there that they will attend “college” on how to be a hard-core murdering or thieving criminal with no morals or values whatsoever (though there are some good, decent, educated, moral people in prison for trying to expose the criminals who now infest all levels of our government; similar to the political prisoners of all other Communist countries). Most of those who survive prison will then be cast back into society to hone and exercise the skill sets they learned there. Finally, the cycle comes full circle as those students—now adults—have kids and cast them into the public school system to begin the process all over again.

I can hear some of you now (those who have actually stayed with me and read this far into my editorial), “But Dave, it’s illegal for a teacher to hit a student.” Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve read the law books and here’s what they say; “Generally speaking, a state or an agency or authority in charge of public institutions of higher learning is immune from tort liability in the absence of a constitutional or legislative enactment to the contrary and is not liable in tort for acts or omissions in connection with a public college, university, or other similar institution under its direct control and supervision.” (see annotation at 86 ALR2d 510) There is also a pretty high bar to prove assault and battery by a teacher. “To be guilty of an assault and battery on his pupil, a school teacher must not only inflict immoderate chastisement, but must do so with legal malice or wicked motives, or must inflict some permanent injury.” (see Suits v. Glover, 43 ALR2d 465)

Here in Maine, the law does allow a teacher to use a “reasonable degree of non-deadly force against any such person who creates a disturbance when and to the extent that the teacher or other entrusted person reasonably believes it necessary to control the disturbing behavior.” That section of law defines “reasonable degree of force” as “the physical force applied to the child which may result in no more than transient discomfort or minor temporary marks.” (see 17A MRS §106) you may translate that bit of legalese to a cuff upside the head, or a spanking on their bottom.

Out here in the real world, philosophy works in sewing circles and debating clubs where everyone agrees to a friendly debate. But when it comes to bullies that may cause physical or psychological harm, leave the Nietzsche, Heidegger and Lucretius on the shelf. Sometimes a slap up-side the head, a warmed bottom, or a tipped over desk is all that’s really needed to rectify the situation.

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