Back to school – Back to the trenches

Jonathan Garthwaite
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Posted: Sep 22, 2006 12:03 AM

It’s that time of the year again. Across America, parents are packing up their kids, putting them on the bus and sending them back to school. It’s an exciting time and a nervous time – for parents and children alike. Each new year means tougher homework assignments for children, greater expectations of responsibility and less and less hand-holding. For parents, they must accept that the children are growing up and needing them less and less each year. They must also realize that with each passing year, the threats to their children’s innocence are growing:

· The Internet puts pornography and child molesters within easy reach of innocent children.

· Schoolyard violence can now be seen even in elementary schools as the effects of dysfunctional families begin to show.

· Children are engaging in sexual activity at earlier ages, as our sexuality-dominated media and culture encroaches on traditional values.

· Alternative lifestyles promoted by the gay, lesbian and transgender communities are confusing children about relationships and families.

· The increasing number of unwed mothers, alcoholic parents, and absent fathers is creating a whole population of children with a distorted image of what constitutes a family.

Kids that were already growing up too fast for our taste are now growing up too fast for their own good.

Parents in any generation have had to wage their own battles with the popular culture, but the battle in front of us is – in my humble opinion – the greatest of the past 40 years. The onslaught of negative influences is coming from every direction. Almost nowhere on Earth is a safe zone anymore.

Who knows what acceptable behavior is in the house next door to you? Who knows what the other children in your neighborhood are up to? Who knows what’s on TV next door that your child is being exposed to? Who knows who’s lurking in the neighborhood park or on the internet site your child accidentally stumbles on while doing their homework? Who knows what your child’s teacher is filling your child’s mind with?

In upstate New York, when Batavia High School students showed up for science class this Fall, their teacher had gone from Paul to Paula, so to speak.

The school district had known since last December that they would have to deal with this teacher’s transgender issues, but decided wait until only a week before classes started to spring the news on the students and parents.

The school says its hands are tied because of state and federal laws that say a person with a transsexual disorder is considered disabled, is protected from discrimination and must be reasonably accommodated by an employer.

But greater care should have been given to the confusion this would create for children already going through one of life’s most awkward stages.

Several parents felt strongly enough to request that their children be assigned to a different teacher. Despite the fact that transsexual individuals may be protected by the law, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that a parent should have some say over whether their child is taught by a man in a dress.

Nope. The parents who asked to transfer their children out of classes with a transsexual teacher were denied by the superintendent because of “paperwork errors.” - clearly an undercover way to circumvent the will of the parents.

Still, some parents took the extreme measure of altering their child’s entire academic plan and schedule in order to avoid the transsexual teacher. Is that what it has come to - that parents have to choose between biology and botany or physics and calculus in order to keep their children focused on schoolwork and not on the cross-dressing teacher in front of the class.

You might want to throw up your arms in despair. But as children across America head back into school, it’s incumbent upon all of us to look out for the next generation.

Whether it’s violent video games, sexual innuendo in the media or drag queens in science class, it’s imperative that all of us – parents, non-parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens -- get involved, stay in-touch and save the next generation from a world out to snatch away their innocence.