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Discipline, Drugs and School Violence

Written by Douglas Wilson

School shootings and other forms of violence are increasingly common at government schools around the nation. The natural reaction by the general public thus far has been a combination of revulsion and a quick willingness to blame the guns involved. Not surprisingly, the gun thing has become a political football.

Among conservative Christians, the defensive response to this has frequently been just as superficial as the attacks – we don't want our guns confiscated, and so we argue that we don't want our guns confiscated.

But we have to do better than this. Who, or what, is responsible? This radical breakdown of civility is coming from somewhere, and we need to learn the source of it before it overtakes us as well. We are circling the drain, experiencing the downward cycle of sin—and it will do no good to simply find our way back to the previous moment in the cycle. We must be true radicals; the word comes from the Latin radix, meaning root. We need to get to the root of the matter. When we discover the source of the problem, we must deal with that.

Our nation established a socialistic system of education, telling parents that they did not have to exercise the same degree of responsibility for their children that they used to. Lo and behold, over time, parents began to relinquish more and more of their parental duties, assuming that "they," out there somewhere, would pick up the slack. Children became increasingly unloved, uncared for, and undisciplined. As the resultant lack of self-control became more evident, people began to look for alternative means of discipline.

One of the means our modern technocratic society discovered was our ability to hit kids on the head with a chemical rock. As a whole, the government school system has said yes to drugs, and students by the thousands found themselves on Ritalin, Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, or related drugs. In many government school systems, such drugs are actively promoted by the administration as a means of keeping order in the classroom. It is not uncommon for the school to help administer dosages, making sure the kids stay medicated. But the problem is in one of the potential side-effects of many of these drugs. Virtually all of the recent school shootings have been perpetrated by kids on officially-sanctioned drugs. Of course, these drugs do not turn every user violent, but they do have this effect on many. Kip Kinkel, in the Oregon shooting, was taking Prozac. Eric Harris, of the Columbine shooting, was taking Luvox. Luvox causes mania in one out of every twenty-five taking it.

Couple this with the fact that God and His law are officially and formally ignored in all these educational proceedings. The kids are taught that they evolved from some primordial goo and that their lives have no transcendent meaning. Everything is vanity, everything is worthless. Morality is what you, the student, want it to be. And then, when some of the kids, natural inhibitions loosened by the drugs, take this curricular lesson out to the logical practicum, and start blowing other fellow students away, bits of protoplasm every one of them, everybody in authority starts wrenching at the head, wondering where this is coming from. The kids who do this are called monsters by the school system that made them what they are. The kids are called monsters by the monster who birthed them. Instead of shrinking back from the logic of the conclusion, these kids should be given honorary diplomas. They, at least, have understood what they were being taught.

We had plenty of guns long before these shootings started. Our civil disintegration in the schools is the clear result of two principal factors: our children are underdisciplined and overmedicated.

So the problem is obvious. But it is equally obvious that those in authority have no intention of seeing that which is obvious. The solution, they solemnly maintain, and with a straight face, is trigger locks and other forms of gun control. But we do not need gun control; we need self-control. We cannot have self-control, a fruit of the Spirit, without the gospel.

This means that Christian parents do have a broad responsibility to our civil order. There are a number of specific things that can be done.

The first, if it applies, is to pull your own children out of the government school system, and never even think about putting them back in, for any reason. The first motive for doing this is the protection (spiritual, covenantal, academic, etc.) of your own children. The second motive is the protection of those children who remain behind. The sooner the government school system collapses, the better it will be for everyone, including those who were enrolled at the time the schools fell apart.

The second is to talk, at every opportunity, about the spiritual and cultural malaise that pervades the culture our young people are growing up in, and how the entrenched education establishment is trying to hide this rapidly escalating problem by inducing brain fog in any children who act up. In private conversation, in letters to the editor, we need to be wondering loudly about this gross dereliction of public responsibility. The broad responsibility for school shootings has to be laid squarely at the feet of our modern educrats.

But don't wait for them to get your point, and change. The third responsibility is to actively build an alternative educational subculture. Many of you have responded by committing to homeschooling. Also, be encouraged to be planting and building schools. Children that are homeschooled and those in our classical Christian academies are not aliens; they are modern American kids. And as outsiders see what it is possible for a "modern American kid" to do and be, they will start to see the lie they have been sold. In doing this, it is important that the educational initiatives not imitate, in any fundamental way, the pedagogy of the government school system, the god that failed.