by Jim Harris
It seems like everyone is talking about school violence these days. My friend Swami Tommy, a certified psychic soothsayer, is predicting that Mayor Nutter will soon launch a “humanitarian intervention” into Philadelphia’s violence-plagued public schools to prevent further assaults on decent students by thugs.
“Police helicopters will drop carefully aimed satchels of explosives,” says Tommy. “Just enough to break up the fighting and roust everyone from the building. It’s completely safe.”
While that looks good on paper, there has to be a better way to make our schools safer. I have a few suggestions.
•School uniforms might help. Suits of armor, perhaps.
•Plant child spies in the schools to rat on troublemakers. Put the mini-spies on the payroll, and guarantee them a witness protection home in Florida if they get “outed.”
•Paint more inspirational murals on the school buildings. Pictures of happy, well adjusted kids reading, helping old ladies across the street and engaging in wholesome activities. This would only cost $5 million dollars, and it’s bound to work.
•Look to nature for solutions. Animals, too, often have discipline problems with their young. Lions are known to banish hooligans from the pride, and in some insect societies, the troublemakers get eaten (not recommended).
•The tough kids might not be smart enough to be accepted into the military, but maybe they could be drafted into the Peace Corps and sent off to beat up helpless people in foreign lands.
•Turn the schools into prisons. The schools already look like bunkers. They have metal detectors, barred windows, armed guards and video surveillance. You don’t need to do a whole “extreme makeover;” just lock the damn doors. The only drawback to this method is that the good kids would get locked up along with the bad.
•Prospective parents could be required to take training courses and buy licenses for their progeny. This might cut down on the number of folks who have absolutely no intention of being responsible parents. This would, however, undoubtedly be opposed by the powerful NRA (National Reproductive Association). According to NRA spokesperson Aphrodite LaLapalooza, “The constitution guarantees us the right to bear children. Children aren’t the problem, people are the problem.”
•I’m not sure if the constitution actually does guarantee anyone the right to churn out babies like it’s an Olympic event, but I do know it doesn’t guarantee the right to an education. Wouldn’t it be easier to just eliminate schools altogether? Or have kids enter school at age 6 and graduate at 7 — just long enough to learn basics — then channel them directly into the work force. If a kid is old enough to curse and kick a teacher, he or she is old enough to work. Maybe let them return to school at age 18, when they’re better prepared to learn.
•The current Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Arlene Ackerman, has suggested that the violence is not a school problem but a societal problem. Maybe we should just bomb society.
•Dr. Ackerman has also intimated (if I’m reading her right), that al-Queda has been putting mind-altering drugs in the kids’ milk. This is not likely, though, since most kids prefer soda. Maybe it’s all that high-fructose corn syrup and food coloring that’s making them crazy.
I thought about contacting Ackerman for an interview, but her number is unlisted, and it costs $20 to do an Internet search. Besides, I’m told she doesn’t like to be called at home, and she’s always out somewhere anyway, getting yet another “Educator of the Year” award.
When I ask my teacher friends if they like their jobs, they invariably reply sarcastically, “Oh yeah, I’ll really miss it when I retire — 10 years, two months, three weeks, four days, and 55 minutes from now.” It’s sad; a teacher is a terrible thing to waste.
You don’t have to be smart or charming to succeed in America, but you still should need to be a decent human being. If we can’t teach that, we can’t teach anything.