Children must have discipline

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 1, 2008

The issue: Fights break out at several area schools.

Our position: Children go to school to learn. Let&8217;s get discipline back in the classroom.

Children at Southside High School had to sit in their classrooms most of the day Wednesday because of fights in the cafeteria early that morning.

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This is a waste of learning time and an indication that someone has lost control at home and at school.

Officials wouldn&8217;t say much to reporters for The Selma Times-Journal about the altercations on the campus. However, some students and their parents or guardians told us that fighting on the Southside campus happens more often than it has in the past.

Students need a time and place in which to learn.

Adult teachers and administrators at the schools are responsible for keeping order in classrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums, halls and all other areas of the school complex. This is not rocket science, and teachers and administrators have completed this task for years and years without benefit of armed police officers or sheriff&8217;s deputies sitting in the offices and patrolling halls.

When a child becomes disruptive the first time is the time to take action. No threatening. No pleading. Schools must have zero tolerance for any kind of misbehavior.

Additionally, schools are areas of learning. What a great place to incorporate a holistic approach to education by teaching conflict resolution in a variety of ways and through a variety of media.

For example, a history lesson could turn into a lesson about dealing non-violently when opposed. Certainly, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of this.

Children need rules. Rules are established to keep order. It&8217;s up to the adults in a school to enforce those rules.

But adults in the schools can only go so far as the parental support they receive. Many times, the parent takes the side of the child without examining the entire situation or assessing the issues as objectively as possible.

Too many times, many of us have heard, &8220;but she has it in for my kid,&8221; or &8220;he doesn&8217;t understand about my child, so he makes it hard on him.&8221;

Most of the time, when a child is disciplined in the classroom, that child has caused a disruption, and the teacher has had to respond to keep order in the classroom so other students may learn.

Parents have a responsibility to teach their children to behave themselves from the moment those children are born. Children do not learn manners by osmosis, although little ones do imitate their parents or other adults they are around.

Basic home instruction: Listen while others are speaking. Respect adults because they are older and sometimes wiser. You are in school to learn, so pay attention and listen.

More basic home instruction: If someone chides you or aggravates you, then turn the other cheek. If someone hits you, don&8217;t hit back but call on an authority figure to settle the issue at school. Give people their space. Allow others to be different.

A good dose of tolerance at home will teach tolerance in other areas. Many fights are caused by throwing words around and taunting. Children, who grow up in a tolerant home generally do not wind up in fisticuffs in cafeterias left over from some outside altercation.

Schools and parents must work together to provide an appropriate place for learning. A school with cops in the hall is a sign that either one or the other, perhaps both, have forgotten their missions.

Coming together and talking about issues may be what&8217;s needed at Southside and Keith high schools.

We urge parents and administrators to find the solution quickly.