Now there#8217;s a verbal icon that could change the world

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

CHARGER, an acronym for &uot;Cooperate with others, Have materials and come to class prepared, Apply yourself by completing all assignments, Read, Good attitude, Encourage others, Responsible for your actions. Put all those capital letters into a single word, CHARGER, and you have the newest form of school &uot;discipline.&uot;

The idea is to have order in school classrooms by installing this new system and making it a part of the school curriculum. The lack of discipline in schools across the nation, regardless of who is responsible for maintaining it, is the reason students from other countries often leave ours in their dust.

John Yeates Middle School is where this ship was launched and it is considered to be a challenge to the students to keep it afloat. The program is an initiative of the Virginia Department of Education, wherein school officials finally can respond to behavior problems and it is about time, years overdue, hopefully not too late.


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So why is the program needed? Is it because our society is so steeped in political correctness the knees have gone weak? Is it part of a cycle, like global warming and freezing, like the coming and going of the ozone layer?

Only the older generation can remember the last cycle of &uot;enforced&uot; discipline that held sway until the 1960s. There wasn’t any carrot back then, just a stick. Not that it was used much, but it was there if, and when, required to quell the unruly.

As I recall, we either feared top school officials or we respected them and their responsibility and authority. At any rate, the system worked, and only a small number of recalcitrants tested the theory of restraint.

We were not robots, but we knew exactly why we adhered to the rules. Then, as now, it was for our own good.

So, now it’s going to be a carrot, not because the stick no longer works, but because the attitude of parents has become such that authorities are fearful. (&uot;Don’t you dare touch my child.&uot;)

As far as I know, there has never been an instance when a destructive child has not had it coming when swatted by a teacher, or the embarrassment when led by the ear to the principal’s office. That worked for my generation and others following it because parents were determined to work with the educational system, not against it.

Better this system than nothing. Teachers and staff must now focus on what students do right instead of what they do wrong and somehow reward them for it … a gold star or pat on the head for doing what they should be doing instead of a rap on the knuckles for acting up. I assume there will be a posted list or chart indicating how to get reward points that can earn prizes of some kind; little red tickets will be issued when students demonstrate the CHARGER expectations.

Again, I’m not knocking the &uot;plan.&uot; I can see seventh graders, age 12, accept the idea of collecting and amassing the tickets, but there must be an age when it becomes silly. Perhaps the program should begin in kindergarten, and if done right, the idea of being a good student and citizen will take hold in the formative years. But what do I know; I can still feel that teacher’s ruler smack my open palm. And I got to know the principal on a first name basis.

Kudos to S60C

Until I read it in the SNH, I had not heard of the organization S60C, Suffolk 60 Care, created by three Suffolk women who had a great idea of serving the community in many ways. Their lofty mission requires some thought: to provide quality volunteerism by acting as a catalyst for community change, while developing individual potential through leadership. It is a mouthful, but they are making it work and we will hear more about them.

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