By Clyde Davis: CNJ Columnist
Last week, this column centered on the contributions of teachers to the lives and futures of students and included a statement concerning how school provides a structured and organized, thus safe, environment for many children.
It would take up valuable space to describe in detail how many children, growing up in chaos, have been given successful lives by the interest of a teacher, the structure of a school system, etc. Suffice it to say that the answer is “many.”
Today, perhaps more than in the past, chaos is the norm rather than the exception for many kids. I say “perhaps” because there really is no way to verify it. Whether or not that is true, the reality is that when and where it does happen, it needs to be addressed by society.
Let me say that simplier. Safety and care of children needs to be a priority. It has not been, for at least eight years and perhaps longer, at the top levels of government. To ask state and local child care organizations to do “more” with “less” is a road to failure. Whether it is a school system, a social welfare department or an activities center, programs that involve children need to move to the front of the line.
My first job as a teen was lifeguarding at a camp for kids who were termed underpriveledged. Not only finances, but family circumstances, helped determine this definition.
The stories which told us where the kids came from frequently depicted chaotic and abusive home environments. Alcohol and drugs were frequently factors, and ethics were, as I like to term, “flexible.” We knew these kids were hurting, and the social/educational system of the late 1960s and early 70s was just beginning to figure out what to do about these children.
Thirty-three years later, we can no longer plead lack of knowledge. The enemy, on a government level, seems to be more lack of concern. We flat out don’t care, having been exposed to too many years and examples of leaders in the political realm who think everything is fine, so long as their own