Our Kids: Canaries in the Coal Mine
Children are like the canaries in the cultural coal mine; when toxins fill the environment, they’re the first to drop. Though retired from full-time teaching, I keep one foot in the world of public education, teaching and consulting for my school district. Most of my assignments are where anti-social, emotionally-disturbed, violent, socially confused, and otherwise at-risk youth are placed in Severe Needs Behavior (SNB), and/or pre-incarceration programs. Alarming trends are occurring in such settings, including my medium-sized school district in a semi-rural corner of the West.
The most obvious change in the last couple of years has been roughly a doubling of the number of Special Needs Behavior (SNB) classrooms throughout my district. One such “last resort before incarceration” school, which once housed only high school students, has expanded to middle school, and for the first time this year, elementary school-aged kids. This program really is the last stop before children land in the juvenile justice system, or are institutionalized, for the sheer danger they present to others and themselves. Numerous school programs exist with teachers trained specifically to address the severe social/emotional/and behavioral needs of troubled children. The elementary classroom on the “last resort” campus which I mentioned, is the school for children who pose threats beyond those that can be managed in the other, already intensive, SNB programs.
Such programs serve a certain percentage of students impacted with organic conditions such as Autism or mental illness such as Bipolar disorder. In my experience, that population is the minority. Most children filling up SNB programs in my town and across the country, have been impacted by preventable social factors such as physical and/or emotional abuse, drug abusing parents, or neglect. Problems suffered by students with Autism or other organic problems are sometimes exacerbated by poor parenting, neglect, abuse, or other familial disruptions. Most often these factors; abuse, neglect, and substance-abusing parents, are a package deal. It appears that the arm of Special Education that is meant to support students with behavioral disabilities, is instead, picking up the pieces of children broken by poor parenting, neglect, and a sick culture. Let me share a few case studies.
Just a decade ago children like these were the rare exception. Few schools required programs designed to house emotionally disturbed, dangerous, or otherwise behaviorally-challenged kids. Education is a secondary, and sometimes tertiary, factor in such settings because time, resources, and physical facilities are geared towards keeping the campus safe and regular classrooms functional in the presence of severely aberrant students.
Organic mental illness isn’t increasing because the environment is more toxic than in the past. Unhealthy relationships, drugs, generational government dependence, and shattered families all cause some degree of personal stress. When such factors are co-morbid, you end up with kids who cope in unhealthy ways. Our kids are suffering from the contagion of an immoral, degraded culture. One must consider that in everyone of these case studies, are examples of how behavior condoned by pop culture and/or supported by government, lends to the emotional and behavioral disruptions that land children in very expensive SNB programs.
Sex education in schools removes the moral implications of sexuality and prepares children for early sexualization by teaching them how to have sex and minimize the chances they will cause a pregnancy or contract a disease. Homosexuality is taught as just another band in the spectrum of normal. Children too young to have formed a healthy identity may be pegged as gay or lesbian or bisexual, and that “alternate” sexual identity is encouraged and cultivated by their “tolerant” peers and progressive teachers. Such a child will naturally be confused and miserable, feeling that cultural pressures have trapped him in an identity which he may not be prepared to actualize, or may be contrary to his value system, or natural impulses.
The Obama Administration is perfectly “comfortable” with the notion that very young girls and their partners–whether older men in the case of statutory rape, or very young boys–can have sex, obtain Plan B abortifacients, or get an abortion, without parental notification or consent. The very heart of the government is ordaining the perversion and ultimate destruction of our kids. Physical well-being, relationships, identity, and mental health all suffer when immoral practices are fostered.
Government welfare guarantees an income to any young woman who has a baby outside of marriage. Medicaid will pay for the pregnancy and birth, and as soon as the girl turns 18 she can apply for a galaxy of federal, state, and local benefits. Girls who get pregnant while in their teens have been brought up, often by their single, welfare-dependent moms, knowing that bastard children are their ticket to a leisurely, though limited, lifestyle, in which they will not have to do the work of higher education or of making a living. The more babies, the more free stuff.
Drug use is encouraged by pop culture, and now in states such as Colorado and Washington, it is condoned by government via the legalization of marijuana. Some facts are stubborn such as the fact that pot IS a gateway drug and most often leads to the abuse of other substances. Pot is rarely used by itself. There are no drug test requirements for those receiving government benefits. Mental and physical health are never enhanced with the use of illicit drugs. In my experience, many troubled children come from homes where neglect, abuse, early sexualization, poverty, government dependence, and mental illness are all traceable to parents who are so stoned they don’t care, and whose primary concern is staying that way.
What has changed in the last few years to account for the explosion in numbers of children who can be characterized as dangerous, insane, sexually perverted, self-destructive, and sociopathic? Like the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, children will succumb to environmental toxins before adults even notice there’s something poisonous in the air. Our kids are succumbing now to the deterioration of American culture, specifically families and homes impacted by an essential and encompassing moral decay. Neglect, absent fathers, the lack of structure, expectations, and accountability, and government that fosters delinquency and dependence, may not fully account for the exploding numbers of students entering Severe Needs Behavior programs, but they are factors almost always present in a majority of these kids.
From Curious George to condoms on cucumbers, from The Mickey Mouse Club to Miley Cyrus, from Nuclear Family to gang culture, from self-reliance to the nanny state, from self-control to “I can’t help it, I have ADHD,” from wedding nights to no weddings at all, from sexual perversions to mainstream, from freedom to bondage. This is what are kids are facing. Help them by teaching and modeling Biblical principles of right and wrong.
by Marjorie Haun 9/9/13