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Our education system is in reverse

By Douglas Marolla

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.

Last year we had the ultimate tragedy – a 10th grade girl, cheerleader, honor student, was stabbed and killed in New York after the NYS basketball championship. Kayla was 16 years old at the time of her death last April, and her killer was 15. 

The event was tragic enough without all the trappings that go along with cases like this one. To see someone with so much potential brought down is never pleasant. But that wasn’t all. Next, add together all the ingredients of a broken society and system and you’ll see how this case was made even worse.

Kayla’s killer was sentenced to three-to-nine years in prison. Think about that for a minute. At the latest, Kayla’s killer will be free when she is 24 years old. This being New York, there’s perhaps even a possibility that she will be set free in as little as three years. If that actually does happen, she will be 18 years old.

So, a 15-year-old kills someone in broad daylight while surrounded by a crowd. Before the incident, she showed the knife she was going to use on Instagram. She brazenly attacked Kayla and her friend, but her friend lived. All this happens, but the killer ends up only getting a three-to-nine year prison sentence.

It gets worse.

The first-degree manslaughter charge was part of a plea deal. It should be noted, however, that the killer could’ve received a “youthful offender” status which would’ve removed the crime from her criminal record when she reached adulthood. The judge did not let that happen.

Still, this whole scenario shows the system was supposed to protect people like Kayla, but instead has exposed itself for being ridiculously unprepared.

In what world is someone’s 15-year-old child killed, and the killer gets three-to-nine years in state prison?

It happens in a world where no one has parameters. It’s a world where no young person is ever really punished for any wrongdoing. When a teenager lives in a boundary-free society, then that teen will do whatever thou wilt.

There is evidence that the school knew of the bad blood between these two girls. Kayla’s attorney has stated it publicly, and because I work in the district it’s what we heard as well. Was anything done? Apparently not. I don’t know why. 

What I do know is that the consequences and punishments that you and I had as children and teenagers are gone from the system. When I got into the school business in 1996, the older teachers were adamant that if a student showed up late to class, they either got points off on the spot, had to wait in the hallway, or were told to go to the assistant principal’s office. A phone call was made, the punishment was clear, and the behavior was usually corrected.

Those older teachers have all retired, and the new school ethos wholly embraced by administrators today gladly allows any type of behavior. Late to class? Come on into the room anyway. Some teachers have you sign a late log… as if that makes a difference. We aren’t allowed to turn away a late student. Guess what the result of that is? Students show up when they wish.

Didn’t do an assignment? Instead of a zero, it is suggested that we give half credit. In other words, if you do nothing, you still get 50%, because a zero is so demoralizing to the fragile teenage mind that you can’t risk such a horrible thing. Is that how it went when you were in high school? It wasn’t at my high school. When it comes to schooling, we have taken hold of the gearshift and slammed it into reverse.

It is in the rules-free, toxic soup that this young woman was killed. The school systems spend inordinate amounts of time and money on chimeras like “white supremacy,” “equity,” “social justice,” and the abjectly useless “common core curriculum.”

Our young people are getting sold a bill of goods. It’s rare for me to blame something as ethereal as a “system,” but the school system and justice system have both failed. They failed Kayla and her family, and they’ve paid the ultimate price.

Look closely at what your school district is teaching, who is controlling the curriculum, and the material sent home with your child. 

If your child is on social media all the time, take the phone away – even if for two hours a night. Do something. If you’re waiting for the public school system to come to the rescue, you’ll be waiting forever.

The school system is afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings. The system is afraid of social media backlash. The people running these systems don’t seem very afraid of even the most tragic consequences.

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Douglas Marolla

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