Just looking down the road a piece

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

Here is how the wheels are going to come off. The Virginia Department of Education is implementing a new system of school discipline called CHARGER. It is a clever way to dodge around the old system of inflicting terrible punishment on school children who were never disciplined at home. An example of current cruel punishment would be to tell a disrespectful child to be quiet. Another example was to threaten an extra hour after school … or the frightening thought of going without chewing gum for a whole day. These extreme measures have gone by the wayside, and now the new curriculum requires children to be &uot;rewarded&uot; for effectuating good actions … a little red ticket is given to the child for each act of &uot;good.&uot;

It is now the year 2009, and Suzie, now in tenth grade, has accumulated 330 tickets, and is aiming at the Guinness Book of World Records. She needs one more, and requests it from the teacher, who decides what Suzie thought she did to earn it was nice, but does not qualify under the Charger rules. The red-ticket system has had three years experience, and the teacher is firm. Suzie complains to her mommy, who calls the teacher, demanding she immediately give her child that &uot;good&uot; ticket. This mommy had also berated Suzie’s soccer coach on several occasions. The teacher weakens a bit, but stands her ground, so, mommy calls the child’s principal.

The principal quickly reviews the Charger rules, visits with the teacher to review Suzie’s record of being a delightful child, and sides with the teacher. So, mommy calls her lawyer, who says he will take the case pro bono; he loves publicity good or bad. The lawyer calls the school superintendent, who is furious, because no one had informed him. He wants no trouble with the courts, or the Virginia Department of Education. He calls the school’s lawyer and notifies the school board. The board votes unanimously to stay the hell out of it. This case will come before the United States Supreme Court in 2015, by which time Suzie, then 21, will have lost her shot at the Guinness record to a nine-year-old angel in Isle of Wight County.


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And another organization could be in trouble … the Suffolk Moms In Touch International.

These women, from 116 countries, often get together just to pray. I’m surprised the ACLU is not already barking at the millions of doors behind which these ladies pray for the security and success of our schools and the children in them. This Christian behavior must be impeded, perhaps halted, and provided volumes of regulations by Congress to keep them in line, lest they go too far.

Are they keeping records that can later be examined when their case goes to trial? Are there named individuals licensed and registered who could be charged for misconduct? Is there an illegal conspiracy with Starbucks to supply them with below-market-price coffee? Is Pat Robertson behind this, or any other TV reverend, with intentions to dominate the planet? And, just what is the relationship with the Pope? We must keep a sharp eye on these women because this concentration of prayer can be more potent internationally than the hapless United Nations that should turn their building over to them. I do wonder which method of school discipline they will support … the carrot or the stick? There are several generations of women involved; they might support both.

And, the city may be in trouble by changing the &uot;ambulance&uot; policy. No more free rides to the hospital when accident or illness strikes. Trouble, because the city, in its generosity, insists people will be served whether or not they can pay. Those with insurance covering that kind of ride will be charged. Those without insurance, but plenty of cash, will pay. Those with neither will not be denied. Surely the ACLU will take a hard look at this form of favoritism.