A completely backwards orientation on student safety

A story in the Herald-Times last week is a perfect example of how far we have fallen as a society and how little regard we have for our responsibilities as private citizens and parents. From the March 20 article, “Schools seek parents’ help in keeping children safe online,” carefully consider the following quote:

While MCCSC strives to educate its students about using technology safely and responsibly, they can only keep an eye on kids when they’re in school. The Monroe County Community School Corp. is asking for parents’ help in keeping youngsters safe when they leave school grounds.

“What worries us is that students don’t have protection outside our walls,” said Jason Taylor, MCCSC’s director of e-learning strategies.

The disturbing mentality here is that the government school system is the primary caretaker for these children and teens, and they are taking steps to ensure those children and teens are kept safe when they are away from school. It should be exactly the opposite – parents should be the primary caretaker, ceding care of their offspring to the school for seven hours a day so they can be educated.

There are good people within the government school system who do their best for students, but nothing can replace parents. The primary responsibility for a child’s physical needs, safety and, yes, their education resides with the parents – not the state. The concern should be going in the opposite direction – parents should be keeping their children safe at home, and asking about what the schools are doing when they are under the school’s authority.

The school should not be seeking parents’ help regarding online safety – the parents should be seeking help from the school. But as we have ceded more and more of our lives – and even our children’s lives – to the authority of the state, no one bats an eye at the thought of the government school system asking parents to help protect children and teens when they are under the parents’ care. It is absolutely absurd.

There is nothing inherently wrong with what MCCSC is doing here – efforts to keep children and teens safe online are admirable. The problem is that our society has degraded to the point where a statement like the one made by Mr. Taylor would not be met with shock, shame and humiliation.

What we need is for parents to take responsibility for their children and for churches and extended families to demand parents take responsibility. Government schools are a temporary and part-time caretaker at best, and government schools are not designed or equipped for child-rearing. That can only be done by strong, intact families.

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