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Jewish World Review April 2, 2001/ 9 Nissan 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Child abuse, anyone? Try dodging this

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- TEACHERS have become almost extinct in America's public schools, having been replaced by the educationists produced in alarming numbers by something called "schools of education."

Educationists speak in a foreign tongue called "educanto," a particularly difficult language for authentically educated folk to learn. What they're telling us is scary, indeed.

For example, the rash of shootings in schools from coast to coast has us all alarmed, as it should, but some of the educationists are hysterical to the point of incoherence. Fortunately, most children survive child abuse, but in a lot of places it isn't easy.

Not so long ago the level of such child abuse was reassuringly low in the small towns and rural precincts of the republic, but the great leveling that has occurred throughout America the dumbing down of everyone so as not to hurt the feelings of stupid people has pretty much rendered all children at risk.

Willie Isby is the director of child welfare and attendance for the Ouachita Parish schools in northern Louisiana. When an 8-year-old boy drew a picture of a soldier holding a knife, and left it on his desk when he went to the restroom and it was found by another little boy who gave it to the teacher, Mr. Isby ordered the little artist suspended, sort of. He was sentenced to "in-school suspension." It's not clear whether "in-school suspension" means that the boy is there but not really there, or that he's not there but he really is there. He's being punished for for being an 8-year-old boy with an 8-year-old boy's fascination with accurately drawn pictures of soldiers, nearly all of whom carry knives.

When the news of Mr. Isby's hysteria became public remarked upon not only in the Monroe News-Star in Louisiana but in the Wall Street Journal he vowed to expand his campaign against "copy-cat crime" in the schools of Ouachita Parish: "It will show that we are serious about nonviolence in the schools."

The crime wave that began in the second grade in Louisiana spread quickly to southern Illinois, where Principal John Divey of Carbondale Community High School discovered the words "Today I hate everything," a sentiment common to any high school student on any given day, painted on a wall in letters 3 feet high. Thirty students were kept at home, where they could hide under their beds until Condoleezza Rice and an anti-terrorism team from the National Security Agency could be called in. Mr. Divey ordered Carbondale's school-safety plan, which covers fires, tornados and earthquakes, updated at once because "it does not cover graffiti." You might think a can of paint big enough to paint over the graffiti would do it, but that's only because you don't understand educanto.

The Providence Journal reports that cops were called in the SWAT team was held in readiness to "interrogate" an 11-year-old boy when a list of classmates was found in his desk. Rumors flew that it was a hit list, and he was questioned closely about whether this was a list of the boys and girls he wanted to hit. Maureen Chevette, the superintendent of Central Falls Schools, told the Providence Journal that the educationists discovered that the list was a list, all right, but only the boy's Christmas list. They called the cops, anyway, and didn't bother to tell the boy's parents for two days. Such child abuse probably won't be punished.

In Cambridge, Mass., there's even a movement to stamp out the ancient schoolyard game of dodgeball. This is Harvard country, after all, where the college football team hasn't scored a touchdown since the Saturday before Pearl Harbor. "Any time you throw an object at somebody it creates an environment of retaliation and resentment," Thomas Murphy, a physical education teacher at Tobin Elementary School in Cambridge, told the Boston Globe. "There is nothing positive that can happen except a bully gets to beat up on little kids." A lot of kids, parents and grandparents, some of whom survived dodgeball before the flood, would heartily disagree.

Rick Hanetho, director of the National Amateur Dodgeball Association, would throw up his hands, but he knows better. Someone would accuse him of threatening somebody. "What's next?" he asks. "Will hopscotch be outlawed?"

Probably, but not until the cops arrest Mr. Hanetho for his vile ethnic slur against the Scots, an honorable race even though white, mostly Presbyterian and half male.

School violence is no laughing matter, of course, and we're a culture awash in the celebration of murder and mayhem. But taking out society's frustration on small children is a lousy way to deal with it. Someone who speaks passable educanto ought to tell the child abusers to knock it off.

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Up

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© 2000 Wes Pruden