Youth violence — kill or cure
December 23, 2002
As we approach this time of the birth of Christ, the last thing we should have to be looking at is the increasing violence among our youth.
The problem moved into the media spotlight in 1995 when Barry Loukaitas shot and killed one teacher, two classmates, and wounded two more at Frontier Junior High in Moses Lake, Washington. The media spotlight faded following the Columbine High School shooting spree that was the impetus for youth safety summits nation-wide and new initiatives and legislation to "address the problem of youth violence."
We could all sigh a collective sigh of relief ... after all, the government was "on the job", the problem was being addressed, the behavioral "experts" were being called in, solutions were being found, the problem was being taken care of.
The media spotlight has faded, but has the problem? In this past week, in the local area alone, there have been no less than seven incidents where juveniles were involved in violent criminal acts. And this isn't abnormal. Yet this type of crime among youth was unheard of even ten years ago.
What is so different now then ten years ago? Education, for one. The Moses Lake School District was involved in the Schools for the 21st Century Program initiated in 1987 in Washington state, the program being a pilot for Goals 2000 and education reform. Most states were involved in this pilot program. Students in the Moses Lake School District were among the first in the state to receive a full dose of "fuzzy" education wherein social and life-related issues became the center of the "real-life" learning experience in the classroom, where conflict resolution and peer mediation were touted as the way to "settle differences", and emphasis was put on meeting the needs of every child -- mentally, physically, emotionally.
Yet Barry Loukaitas seems to have slipped through the crack, as did many other children in the years to follow ... Kip Kinkel, Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris as names more readily recognized.
Following each tragedy, media focus came to bear on the parents ... Loukaitas' parents were going through a divorce, there were domestic violence issues. In each instance, the media spotlight rested on the parents, the family, with school personnel wringing their hands and asking "why".
Why, indeed. While some of the blame certainly rests on parents who have largely abrogated their responsibilities as parents in the raising of their children and allowed themselves to be bullied by the government whose reasons for doing so are self-serving and not in the best interests of the child, the blame also falls on many others.
Following the incident at Moses Lake, Superintendent of Public Instruction Judith Billings called for more "conflict resolution" and "peer mediation" training in schools. Outrageous! Conflict resolution and peer mediation, contrary to what parents have been led to believe, are not about right and wrong, they are about "unifying perceptions" ... no right, no wrong, just consensus.
Who wins in such a situation -- the child who is being bullied, who has a more reserved personality, or the bully who has a more aggressive and outgoing personality, who has perfected techniques to get others to agree with him? The bully, of course, which means under conflict resolution and peer mediation, the individual with the more dominant personality will emerge the leader, the one to be agreed with without consideration for whether his actions are right or wrong.
This results in unresolved issues for the child being bullied, unresolved issues that affect the child's self-worth, interaction with others, his perception of the world and his place in that world. In short, it produces an angry child who sees his survival in terms of self-preservation.
This is but one piece of the pie. Another piece has to do with the focus of education under education reform. The focus is no longer the teaching of knowledge, of facts, with the child being taught to use the scope of his knowledge to formulate a reasoned, thought-out conclusion. The focus of education, under education reform, is to alter the child's behavior which may necessitate altering the child's belief system in order that the child may demonstrate the wanted attributes (attitudes), attributes that are not normal to any child: teamwork, critical thinking, making decisions, communication, adapting to change and understanding whole systems. And how parents may believe these terms to be defined, and their reality under implementation are not the same.
In short children are being psychologically manipulated (brainwashed) in classrooms by teachers who have not the training, the experience, the license, or the clinical setting necessary to do this properly and in such manner that it does not damage the child's normal brain function. The result can be a child poised to go off the "deep end", whose brain function hovers at the edge of oblivion, who becomes mentally unstable. To put it succinctly, teachers are committing medical malpractice in the classroom.
And until the public and lawmakers recognize and deal with this, juvenile violence is going to continue and continue to increase. The problem has not been solved by government. As with so many things, the problem has been used by the government to further its agenda, which is not necessarily in the best interests of the American people or American society.
Under a system where "all" really does mean "all", the margin of error, ie, the number of children adversely affected by brainwashing, is acceptable in attaining the goal.
© 2002 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved