Kids need to fear consequences • Brooklyn Paper

Kids need to fear consequences

Why are there no metal detectors at Curtis High School in Staten Island? Why was this simple security measure not taken?

Two teens were allegedly caught inside with loaded handguns.

When I first saw the item on the news, some students who were interviewed said they were shocked, because this sort of thing had never happened there, and it was a good school.

No doubt it is a good school — more than 75 percent of its students graduate — and students gave it a thumbs-up.

But even good kids make mistakes. Given the fact that in today’s world obtaining a gun can be easier than buying a pack of cigarettes, metal detectors should be mandatory in all high schools.

But here is the elephant in the room: the problem goes way beyond metal detectors. It is the lack of respect that students have for teachers, the lack of discipline, and certainly the lack of consequences, that give kids a free-for-all attitude.

My daughter recently started working as a substitute teacher in a high school, and each day she comes home with the same statement. “These kids just don’t care,” she says. “There is no consequence, so they do whatever they want.”

Last week she had a student that just wouldn’t listen, he walked out of the room and didn’t return, even after she repeatedly told him to sit down and behave. When she got home, she told me: “When I was in school, if I acted this way, I would have been put in detention for a week. You would have been called, and then the real punishment would start. No phone, no going out, no computer, no nothing.”

I was a lucky parent, my daughter respected her teachers, respected consequences, and learned from her mistakes.

But in this new age of enlightenment, discipline in schools is a thing of the past. Let us welcome “restorative justice,” a laundry list of guidelines longer than an arm and a leg that is supposed to be better than detention in a kinder and gentler way. “Restorative justice is an approach to school discipline that emphasizes making the victim and offender whole, as opposed to more traditional, punitive measures,” according to its supporters. News flash: It ain’t working.

Not for Nuthin, there is nothing wrong with a little fear of consequences. We all had it growing up, and most of us learned pretty darn well because of it. We learned at a very early age to toe the line, behave in school, respective our elders, respect teachers, and fear the dreaded word “detention.” Maybe it is time we put that word “detention” back into the lexicon of rules and standards instead of “restorative justice” — and then maybe a metal detector or two, as well, just in case.

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail her at jdelbuono@cnglocal.com.

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