2018 | Week of March 12 | #1246
Violence in our schools. It’s on everyone’s mind these days—and rightly so. What’s happening in our schools much too frequently is horrific. In reaction, there’s as many ideas on what we need to do as there are people talking about the problem.
In my opinion, most ideas being bandied about are band aids. They are just attempts at stopping or controlling the symptom rather than curing or at least addressing the root cause. Whether teachers and staff members are allowed to carry guns is sadly a discussion we probably have to have, at least school district by school district. More law enforcement and more safety measures in schools will undoubtedly be part of the generic answer. But again, these are not getting at the core of the problem.
One of the best responses to the question of what can government do regarding school violence and student safety has come from one of Wisconsin’s own members of Congress. I caught Republican Congressman Sean Duffy being interviewed last week. When asked this question, he wisely said, in addition to noting that Congress will be looking to give schools more money to protect themselves, that as a society we need to recognize we’ve had guns in our homes and communities since the founding. Congressman Duffy asks, “What’s happened in the last 25 years that’s causing kids to pick up these guns and shoot people at school?” He went on to mention that we have more fatherless homes in America, which is especially hard for young boys to deal with, adding that we have taken faith and morality out of the public square.
I think Congressman Duffy is the closest of any I have heard at getting to the root of the problem. It’s striking that this father of 8 mentions fatherlessness. Anyone who is willing to look honestly at the data knows, fatherlessness is reaching nearly epidemic levels in our country. And it’s not just “out there” in some general sense. It’s right at home here in The Badger State. Statewide, right at 40% of babies right now are born to single moms. In Milwaukee, the number skyrockets to over 80%. African-American numbers are absolutely tragic with 86% of these babies born to single moms.
Research shows us what happens when children are without a father. Bluntly, they suffer from a host of issues, including being much more likely to experience poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional problems, involvement in crime, educational issues, and early sexual activity. Boys especially need the discipline and structure that typically comes with having a dad in the home. They need a role model who consistently shows them how a real man handles life, in every aspect, including how to deal with anger, disappointment, relationship problems, and conflict in general. An involved dad thwarts many a problem in his children’s lives.
Unfortunately, fatherlessness appears to be something of a common denominator in these school shootings. I’m not saying it’s the only contributing factor in these situations, but to act as if it isn’t part of the problem is foolish.
Another area Congressman Duffy mentioned is removing faith and morality from the public square. In the 1960s the US Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional to pray or read the Bible in our public schools. In 1980, the high court said it is a violation of the First Amendment to post copies of the Ten Commandments in public schools, saying, “If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion,” wrote the court, “it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.” What a terrible indictment of our high court!
Combine fatherlessness with public schools being unable to use Christianity in any overt way to teach right and wrong, and you have a recipe for disaster. These are issues that must be explored, not scoffed at, as contributing to school violence.
Some of the measures being considered will likely thwart some violence, but to begin restoring sanity in our schools and our culture, we must get back to the basics of children being brought up in the homes of their married dads and moms and of bringing the truth of God’s Word back to our schools. I’m encouraged that at least one Wisconsin member of Congress gets it; but we need leaders at every level of our society to get it and get it soon or more lives will very likely be lost. The solutions aren’t simple, but they are critical.
For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”