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If you’ll hit a teacher, what will you do to a peer?
Last week, the big talk around town was an incident that occurred at a local school. In this incident, a teacher was struck in her mouth by a student. Based on street language, or the local rumor mill, the original incident went from the teacher’s “teeth being knocked out” to a cell phone snatch gone wrong, causing the teacher to be hit in the mouth. The actual incident was investigated by local law enforcement officers: the results of that investigation are in an objective report that is listed in this week’s issue of this newspaper. However, we could not let another issue pass without addressing the larger social issue at hand. It is an election year, for both our local school board and our governor. The top issues being chatted about is our state’s education system. Now, most people, whether it is an election year or not, always want to discuss ways in which our education system can be improved. However, we have incidents like this happening in our local schools. What did this incident do the instruction happening that day in that classroom? What are the larger repercussions of this, in terms of Colleton’s ability to recruit teachers?
Our guess is that the incident did more than just interrupt one day of instruction that day. The incident screamed a loud message to an entire class of students: the message was that it is ok for a student to display that lack of respect to a person who is in a position of authority. How do we ever expect our students – and our future leaders – to treat people with respect if we do not demand it?
If a student is willing to do this to a teacher, then what actions will they display toward an adult who is not in an immediate position of authority, such as a janitor or a disabled adult? Just last week we also saw where teens in a neighboring county taunted and then cursed at a soccer coach. Disrespect like this should not be tolerated. We understand, and agree, that public education is a necessity and a matter of fairness to all. However, it is still a privilege. Attending school, or at least a school where computers and social time and hot food is offered, is a privilege. It is not a right. It is an opportunity afforded to those who appreciate it and who are working toward becoming a better and more educated person.
An additional side to this argument falls onto the parents of this student. How did this teenager think that it is ok to act in such a way to a teacher? Had they seen this behavior displayed by their parents or by someone in their families? We are always setting an example of how we expect our children and youth to act. That should be remembered. How many times have we witnessed an adult show disrespect to a person in a fast food restaurant or to a person in an office setting? It is time for this learned behavior to stop.
We weren’t in the classroom to know exactly what happened that day. But we do know that the student should have never thought it was ok to approach the teacher in such a manner. We also believe that it is time for stern examples to be set. Otherwise, get ready to paint a very bleak picture of our schools in the future.

Heather Walters (1261 Posts)