Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist
A Disneyland Grip on Reality
December 15, 2021
In the frozen tundra that has become America’s concept of Public School education, the layers beneath the surface continue to need careful exploration. We currently find ourselves at a new melting point where the overlapping roles of parent, teacher, and society-at-large must come to terms with who is responsible not only for what is taught in the classroom, but what are the clear layers of responsibility for student behavior on school grounds?
To begin with, the historical ‘content in the classroom’ question was sensationalized in 1925 with the Scopes monkey trial and whether Darwin’s theory of evolution was scientific rumor or a blasphemous point of view trumped by the word of God.
A rebirth of this socio-religious warfare currently takes place in the form of whether to teach all/part/none of ‘critical race theory’ in the classroom, to which you can add the devastating anxiety of a poor Virginia mother suffering because her son was having nightmares from reading Toni Morrison in his A.P. class.
May I advise our distraught Virginia mother that yes, it surely must be frightening to be an Advanced Placement parent headed for college. But I’d suggest a vigilant eye be kept if her impressionable boy ventures further than say his front sidewalk, in that he may be in danger of being influenced by reality. I wonder if he also gets nightmares after a serious evening of playing his Manhunt 2 video game.
Have parents gone too far protecting their children from the pitfalls of the adult world while not adequately monitoring their child’s fantasy world? Most likely, the answer there is yes. Do all teachers have the necessary charisma and competence to both teach and socialize? Some do, but overall, most likely the answer is no. Then where does that leave us? How does the daunting task of both educating and socializing a child to succeed come to fruition in a complex and unforgiving world?
Well quite simply, it takes a village, and it takes everyone being responsible for his or her part, which brings us to the soup du jour – the most recent school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan.
Let’s cut to the chase – adolescents all over the world are moody … they have bi-polar swings of being on top of the world, quickly yielding to feeling crushed by their naive expectations of themselves and each other. America is the only country where these fledgling adults with their Disneyland grip on reality seem to have universal access to guns. And whether these children employ these guns to show off, be cool, or rob stores, or if they take family guns into school and wipe out innocent classmates, enough is enough.
The question we all face with the Michigan atrocities takes everything one step further – is it fair to hold the parents of these adolescents equally accountable? The classroom, the locker room, the playground, the hallways have all become a battleground, and who is responsible? What do we do with a parent who buys a war-worthy automatic gun for his child, a child who then goes out and murders his schoolmates? Are we getting warmer as to a possible answer?
Or how about this one – what do we do with a role model parent who advises her child, ‘don’t get caught’ if you’re going to draw morbid cartoons of killing people? What do we do with these people? We can’t make them all live in Texas.
Sorry, but those parents, the ones who bought the gun and advised their son not to get caught? Look no further – they’re guilty, both of them. Although the line was crossed for me a long time ago at Sandy Hook (you know, that fake grade school massacre that never happened just like the moon landing), the Oxford High School shootings beg for making the people who buy guns responsible for their use no matter who uses them. That just has to become the way we roll.
And any mother who is told that her son is drawing pictures of shootings with the caption “The thoughts won’t stop, help me”, and then advises her son that the key is not to get caught drawing pictures … is she guilty of aiding and abetting?
It’s a classroom. Innocent lives were lost. You do the math.