Our View

Who's responsible for the children?

By CHRISTINA M. CURRIE
Daily Press writer
Children are encouraged from a young age be responsible. They are taught that every action has a reaction and every move has its consequence.
Maybe children aren't the ones who are most in need of that lesson.
At what point do parents take responsibility for their actions including the decision to have children?
Even though society and environment may influence the behavior of a child, ultimately, the values, ethics and sense of self-worth a child has come from home. From parents.
If parents value education, a child will, too.
If parents respond to situations violently, a child will, too.
If parents don't stress the importance of a drug-free lifestyle, chance are that won't be important to their children either.
Today, many parents either don't have the time or the willingness to emphasize their values to their children. They expect society the school system in particular to educate children on the risks of certain lifestyles or behaviors.
There is a drug problem in your community? Use tax dollars, law enforcement personnel and educators' time to solve that problem.
There is a problem with violence in your schools? Use tax dollars, law enforcement personnel and educators' time to solve that problem.
There are too many teen pregnancies, occurrences of sexually transmitted diseases or reports sexual violence? Use tax dollars, law enforcement personnel and educators' time to solve those problems.
Though those solutions may provide some relief, the true solution to the problem is for parents to step forward and do the job they chose to do: Be parents.
As literacy rates rise and test scores plummet, parents and legislators cry for education reform. They want students to meet minimum standards for reading, math, science and comprehension and demand that schools educate their children about sex, drugs and violence and all while making sure schools are safe. And with the same amount of money.
Colorado's teachers earn an average of $3,600 less a year than teachers in other states. We can't pay them more, but we ask them to do more.
Days, weeks and months were spent by Moffat County School district personnel crafting a policy to keep bullying in check in an attempt to prevent another incident like the Columbine High School shootings.
Now, after three teens were caught allegedly planning to bomb the high school (one had made similar threats in the past), district personnel are swinging into high gear. They have formed a task force to prevent violence.
Something clearly needs to be done to keep children safe, but the burden shouldn't be on the school district alone. It has its hands full just doing its job.
Parents need to get involved in the planning stages and help educators create a safe learning environment.
More importantly, parents need to do more at home to take the burden off schools. They need to talk to their children, be good role models, get involved in their children's lives, pay attention to where their children spend time, set rules and enforce them, be sure their children are participating in wholesome activities and have peers who have similar value systems.
Parents who are encouraging, attentive and interested don't create perfect children because, by nature, children are curious and anxious to make their own mistakes, take their own chances and follow their own paths.
But, surrounded by strong role models and supportive families and friends, the choices those children make create temporary heartaches instead of long-term destruction.

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