Children and Society: Cause and Effect

Some people on Facebook seemed surprised recently at my willingness to return to what has now become the Obamanation. Though this is not possible for a number of reasons, the newspapers continue to be filled with good reasons flee. I continue to marvel at the British Government’s lack of ability to discern the relationship between cause and effect, instead destroying the remnants of this society, completely baffled by both.

Side by side today in the Mail Online, were a stories about a 14-year-old and an 8-year-old. The older boy shot a teacher in the face with a pellet gun at Beal High School in Ilford, Essex. He got a 15-day suspension. His friends who helped conceal the gun after the incident got shorter suspensions. The teacher was lucky to have been hit between the eyes and not in one of them.

While I agree with the spokeman from the National Union of Teachers that children who use violence against teachers should be expelled rather than suspended, this is the same union that wants all faith schools in the country to be stripped of everything that makes them unique, better performing, and over-subscribed.

The 8-year-old refused to get ready for school on morning. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to go to school, but just because he got up late and was not doing as he was told. His mother smacked him with a hairbrush. A teacher found out. The mother was charged with assault and the boy taken into care by Somerset County Council. She now gets to see him for two hours a week. His long-term future will be determined when she is sentenced later this month.

The court will have to hear from social services whether they think the mother has been re-educated sufficiently to know that even though the law allows for “reasonable chastisement”, social workers are ultimately the interpreters of this language. If they like you, you get your child back. If they don’t, they can (and will, from countless stories in the press) permanently sever the parental relationship. Once an appeals court finally says that bureaucrats have over-stepped the mark, they may also say that unfortunately it’s too late for parents to have their children back.

Parents can’t discipline their children and schools are faced with increasing numbers of children who cannot be controlled at home and no power to control them at school.

Fostering: Christians Need Not Apply

Some of you may remember the story of Pauline and Vincent Matherick, the Somerset couple who had fostered 28 children and were being pushed into promoting homosexuality. The foster son they had at the time was removed from them when they refused. After a national uproar, they were able to come to an agreement with Somerset County Council officials and were able to register again as foster carers.

It’s not like Somerset doesn’t need foster parents. As reported in the Daily Mail, the Council’s website says “that foster parents can be gay, disabled, on benefits, have a criminal record, be of any age, religion and gender, and be married or single”. This is true. I checked the website for myself. They keep the criminal record bit in the FAQs.

The thing they don’t need is people who ever spank their children for any reason. David and Heather Bowen don’t fit many of Somerset’s usual criteria. They are married, heterosexual, physically fit, and make their own living. He’s a chartered surveyor who volunteers as a school governor. She’s a special needs adviser. But, oops, they’re Christians. Go to church every Sunday and all that. Both involved in the children’s ministry. They admit that their beliefs mean that they occasionally spank their daughter as a last resort.

They never suggested they would spank children who belong to the State. They wouldn’t take the idea of being a foster parents that literally. But never mind. Clearly they are not the sort of people who support the ethos of the Somerset County Council and failed liberal parenting ideas rooted in an atheistic anthropology.

It would seem that Somerset doesn’t have enough listless hoodlums and slappers roaming its streets and schools. Given that they subscribe to a philosophy of mollycoddling children, that’s what they must be wanting. Of course this only results in more children that must be taken in by the State to prevent them from serious harm, and a need for more foster parents. Sounds like a downward spiral that, despite how bad things already are, is only just getting started.

A Real Disgrace

For the glory of a man is from the honor of his father,
And it is a disgrace for children to dishonor their mother.

Wisdom of Sirach 3:11

The truth of this verse was made evident by the elder son of Susan Pope. Mrs Pope was until recently the senior nurse at one of the most prestigious private girls schools in the country, Malvern St James. She was sacked for gross misconduct.

However, as has become increasingly common in this country, she was not sacked for anything she did or didn’t do at work. She was sacked for something that happened at home. The facts are not in dispute. Her ten-year-old son swore at her, and after giving him a warning that he would get a smack on the bottom if he did it again, he called her bluff. She was true to her word and applied the mildest discipline to his buttocks over his trousers.

Now most decent reasonable people would immediately recognise that she made a mistake. The warning was entirely out of order. He already knew that what he was doing was wrong. He had already made a conscious decision to curse his mother. This is unquestionably one-strike-and-you’re-out territory.

So all you need now is another rebellious son and a society in complete disconnect with reality. Mrs Pope has both. Her fifteen-year-old snatched his younger brother from the house and called the police. She was arrested and spent 32 hours in police custody. Not only that, her husband was also arrested and held for 32 hours and he didn’t do anything at all. That didn’t stop police questioning him for four hours. She was only questioned for 90 minutes. (I know, I know: on top of all this you are wondering why they were held for 32 hours to be questioned for so little time. That’s the way police do business in this country.)

Someone at the Crown Prosecution Service wisely decided not to charge Mrs Pope with any offence. But as I’m sure you know, Newton’s Third Law of Bureaucratic Motion requires that for every wise action there is an equally stupid reaction. Worcestershire County Council social services stepped in and put both the ten-year-old potty mouth and his eight-year-old sister on the Child Protection Register. They have been on the Register since this occurred last May. According The Daily Telegraph:

sources within the department indicated the Popes had not yet satisfied them that they had met the welfare criteria laid out when the children were placed on the register. “There are issues that still need to be sorted, it’s not simply about a child being smacked,” the source said.

In case you need a translation from the Bureaucraspeak language, the source said that the Pope children are still in danger because bureaurcrats do not believe the parents have accepted the re-education required of them. The State has decided how its children are to be raised and parents must realised that they are merely agents of the State.

So finally, you would think that a posh private school steeped in tradition would be above such things. Well, no. You would think that they would be aware of the character of their employee, but that’s not the issue. Denis Smith, the school’s bursar made the real issue plain in his letter to Mrs Pope informing her that she had been sacked:

The school’s reputation could be significantly damaged in the event that parents or potential parents were to discover that your children are on the Child Protection Register.

We do not believe that the school needs to accept this very real risk to its reputation, which has arisen directly as a result of your conduct.

That’s a lot of words when just two were required: pride and money. But if he wanted to be verbose, he should have just been honest and written something like: “You innocence is irrelevant. We don’t care if social services are completely off their rocker. It is all about appearances and the wrong appearance could cost us pride and money. We care much more about our pride and our money than we could ever possibly care about you, our devalued employee.”

The only positive outcome from this would be for the school’s reputation to be significantly damaged as a result of their conduct. If the values demonstrated by Malvern St James in sacking Susan Pope exemplify what parents want for their children, when they ship them off to be raised by this boarding school, then they should go ahead. Otherwise, they might pause to consider first whether they want their child to be inculcated with the opposite of the Golden Rule. They might further pause to consider whether the way the school treats its employees will be reflected in the way it treats its pupils. Before making a £25,000 per year gamble with the life of a child, perhaps that’s much more worthy of consideration than whether the school nurse smacked her sons bum when he swore at her.

After all, their child may come home thinking that it is okay to destroy the parents’ career if they don’t like being disciplined. Seems like there’s a lot at stake here. I hope the bursar at Malvern St James finds out they gambled the wrong way.

Defiance

I can understand why Judge Robert Restaino snapped. He has, pending appeal, lost his seat on the bench.

When a mobile phone went off in his courtroom, nobody owned up. One of the 46 people present defied his authority. Restaino put them all in detention – jail – until the culprit could be found. He set the bail at $1,500 and when 14 people could not come up with the cash, they were shackled and transported to the county jail. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct didn’t like that.

I’m not saying he did the right thing. I just understand. During my years of teaching school, I have been shocked at the increasing level of open defiance. I have been in situations where children set off mobiles and then play “catch me if you can”. I have been in a school where even when they are caught, they could simply refuse to hand over the phone and there was no backup from senior management.

It goes beyond phones. I have frequently had children simply openly refuse to follow direct instructions, both in and out of the classroom. I have had them do exactly what they have been explicitly told not to do.

I would bet that whoever defied Judge Restaino was educated in the enlightened pedagogy of negotiation. It’s no longer about unquestioned obedience. Obedience is based in fear. There has to be a sufficient consequence for disobedience to make it an undesirable course of action. But the consequences that haven’t been stripped out by the law have been brainwashed out by liberal educational theory.

As a result, each year there are more and more children who no longer recognise that they are children. As a further result, each year there are more emerging adults who have no idea that they cannot simply do as they please. They are willing to defy the direct order of a court to the point of allowing 45 other people to be punished for their actions. Complete selfishness. We live in the emerging generation of the incorrigible spoiled brat.

I don’t know if Judge Restaino ever found his culprit. It seems that a little detective work would have solved the problem. Just divest every person in the courtroom of their property and go through all the phones until the call registers gave away the offender. Then, since contempt of court requires no burden of proof, it would be a simple matter to put the offender in the pokey for a couple of weeks. Of course New York may have some sort of liberal rules that don’t allow that. It’s their own fault.