Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who do you feel is responsible?

While checking my email today a headline captured my attention. Here is the article,

Attack of the 3rd-Graders?

The shocking headlines out of Waycross, Georgia— 3rd-graders plotted to attack teacher, brought knife, handcuffs —lowered the bar on school violence and raised the alarm among parents, teachers, psychologists and just about anyone with an opinion about the country’s future.

The third grade plotters—nine students between the ages of 8 and 10—were allegedly readying a revenge assault against a teacher who had given one of the children a time-out for standing on a chair.

Tipped off by a student, police seized the kids’ menacing arsenal at school, including a steak knife, duct tape, handcuffs, and a heavy paperweight. The teacher specialized in learning disabilities, including attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, though it’s not known if any of the plotters had those diagnoses.

The sophistication of the plan—with kid-assigned jobs of covering classroom windows and cleaning up after the attack—stunned even the police.

“We did not hear anybody say they intended to kill her,” the police chief said, “but could they have accidentally killed her? Absolutely.”

The big question—who or what was responsible for the children’s shocking behavior?—was debated across the U.S. on message boards and Main Street.

The culprits ranged from peer pressure to parenting, with violent video games and television getting much of the blame. “Kids naturally think now that the solution to everything is to shoot someone like they see on TV,” one comment read. “I weep for the future of America.”

For the present, local authorities are uncertain exactly how to proceed. In Georgia, children under 13 can’t be charged with a crime. Being declared “delinquent” by a judge may be the only legal penalty, but the state doesn’t have detention facilities for third-graders.

Tell us what you think. Given the restrictions with the law, how do you make punishment for third graders fit the crime? How much responsibility do their parents bear? And what about the rest of us—should we also b as members of society?

The link for the site can be found here:

It's really quite an interesting read. Many people responded to the news in many different ways, some said the teachers and school system were to blame, others said it was the fault of society (ie, tv, video games and giving children too many equal rights) and last, that the parents were to blame.
It saddens me to read things like this. I feel that it really is a accumulation of all these things. Society is becoming so fast pace, no one really has time to just sit and eat for hours at the dinner table. Parents are having less kids because careers are becoming more important and any technology available to keep the children distracted is great.
I can't believe it's all the parents fault when society makes it hard to just live on a one person income. I know my mom did a paper route for 12 years just so she could help financially and be a stay at home mom. She did all she could at teaching us moral standards...yet still my eldest sister went off the deep end at 17. While it wasn't anything violent it went against what they taught us as children. My sister was taught like the rest of us and still chose not to listen and now she suffers the consequence of her actions. What concerns me is that these children were so young. I read an add on KSL the other day about a lady asking for any newborn baby clothes. She claimed that her coworker came home from work the other day and found that her 15 year old daughter had a baby without her mom knowing she was even pregnant. I can't ever imagine not knowing my daughter was pregnant. This is the problem with parenting. Parents and society dont allow children a chance to be kids anymore. I feel like most parents want there children to act like adults, what a horrible thing to want since most adult don't act like they should. Parenting has I believe become less involved. I don't want to step on any toes here either, because I know of a great many families with wonderful parenting. It's the majority I'm talking about...
Looking at society again, it really disturbed me to hear someone say that we lived in a new kind of world and that the "old" way of doing things wasn't working for our "new world..." I think this is a prime example of the problem. This "new world" is the problem. Yes, I think change is OK, it's going to happen as technology gets better. However its the kinds of things we change that bother me. Take a look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they change with the times, for an example they have an amazing website and broadcast of conferences are sent throughout the world because the church has become so big . However the doctrine and standards they teach remain unchanged and look how long the church has been around.
Sorry this was such a long post, I just feel sad sometimes that this is what my kids will have to grow up in. I hope at least that I can teach them good things. I hope they will always be able to choose the right from the wrong.
What do you think of the matter???? I'm curious to hear all your options about this issue.


Danny and Veronica said...

Hi Sabrina,
Thanks for posting this. I did hear about this story too.
I agree that the accumulation of society's expectations and parental involvement are to blame. After working in the schools, I would assume that the teachers and school system are doing EVERYTHING they can to help the students with the limited resources they can. Being a teacher is a pretty thankless job, and these people do it for the love of kids-because they sure don't get paid well! And now I guess their lives are at risk:)

Anyway, I do believe that there is a specific attack on the family at hand as well. First, there are more single parent homes because the importance of marriage has gone down the drain in our society. It follows that there is consequently less parental involvement. So, children are left to be raised by TV or other adults who are not as involved in their care as their parents would be.

I must say, there are plenty of exceptions. Like me, I grew up with just my mom, but she had the means to send me to the Boys & Girls club after school and put me in sports, etc. Many single parents don't have these resources.

So, then the children look elsewhere for the sense of family. That's why gangs are so popular, they DO provide a substitute in many ways. And then as they get into adolescence, boyfriends and girlfriends become more important because they want to have what they never did. And then, teen pregnancy happens.

Anyway, you can tell I think about this a lot. But, I really do believe that we can raise children to be righteous and have a happy family. It just takes a lot more separation from the world than it used to. I see such a difference in the children who have involved parents and a stable home than those who don't-not only in academic performance, but social competence and in long-term success in life.

For those of us who are not parents yet, I think we need to be more communely-minded about children (sp?) What I mean is, in THIS society, I really do think "it takes a village" to raise a child to be an upstanding citizen. I know, I know it's hard to do this, but if the parents can't do it by themselves, we as a larger family need to help how we can. By not only supporting programs that help these families, but also the little things like helping to babysit, or helping reinforce good manners, etc. Do you all remember adults saying, "what do you say?" when you asked for something as a child? I do. Where did that go? Now adults are so scared they'll get sued that they don't expect children to be respectful and say things like "please" and "thank you"!

As you can tell, this is a sensitive subject for me:) But, I do have faith in the future of our children. It will just take work. I love this talk by Elder Packer about raising children in this world:

MerryPair said...

Hey - I found your blog through Holly. I LOVE your wedding pictures!
-jessica (from the village)

Holly said...

I figured I better actually read the article and Veronica's intense comment. Kidding... I totally agree Veronica. I think about what Jimmy and I are trying to do as parents, and how different it is from what a lot of parents expect from themselves. I think we can all agree that kids shouldn't be exposed to these things, and that parents should be more involved, and broken homes are not good, but who is willing to put the effort into making sure we hold ourselves to these standards? Unfortunately, too many parents take the "easy" way. You know...the 4 year old is whining to see Batman, so instead of telling him, "no" and teaching him boundaries, you give in and let him come. I think some parents are so busy with work and social lives that it's easier to just say, "yes", rather than deal with the consequences of a child not getting what they want. Funny, huh? The HARDER consequences come from children GETTING what they want, all the time. I think some parents are truly just too lazy or self involved to do what's best for their child and some are so ridden with guilt, they can't bare to say, "no". So many problems...THank goodness for the gospel. We are reminded weekly of what is important, and are supported in our efforts by those trying to do the same. blessed =)