1973 vs. 2006
Scenario: Jack pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack. 1973: Vice principal comes over, takes a look at Jack's rifle, goes to his car and gets his to show Jack. 2006: School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school. 1973: Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled. 2006: Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charges them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.
Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students. 1973: Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by principal. Sits still in class. 2006: Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.
Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his father's car and his dad gives him a whipping. Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman. 2006: Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy's sister is told by state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.
Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to school. 1973: Mark shares headache medicine with principal out on the smoking dock. 2006: Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
Scenario: Mary turns up pregnant. 1973: Five high school boys leave town. Mary does her senior year at a special school for expectant mothers. 2006: Middle school counselor calls appropriate authorities and Mary is driven to the next state over and gets an abortion without her parents' consent or knowledge. Mary given condoms and told to be more careful next time. Also brings baby to school for students and teachers to coo over.
Scenario: Sammy fails high school English. 1973: Sammy goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college. 2006: Sammy's cause is taken up by politicians. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist since Sammy is a member of a minority group. Class action filed against state school system as well as Sammy's English teacher. English removed from graduation requirements. Sammy ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can't speak English.
Scenario: Johnny takes leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red-ant hill. 1973: Ants die. 2006: ATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's dad goes on a terror-watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him. 1973: In short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing. 2006: Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison.
We could go on forever here. We read the horror stories ever day. None of the above scenarios are unique. The following is.
Scenario: Recently, my friend's son swatted his 13-year-old daughter on the backside for rude behavior. 1973: The mouthy kid is grounded and her manners improve. 2006: The child calls 9-1-1. Police arrive. Father eyed with suspicion and interrogated.
Sometimes I wonder — don't you? Are we making anything better? Or are we just flailing our arms for show and pretending to fix what ain't broke?
Elizabeth Schuett writes for Cox News Service.