Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How Much Idiocy Can We Blame On A Parent?

Anytime a kid does something stupid or criminal, most of us ultimately ask, "Where were the parents?" However, given that we live in a world where the influence of peers, television, music, and movies can edge out saner voices and years of positive upbringing, how fair is it to place blame on a parent? Frankly, I'm torn.

Demetrius Smith, age 18, the son of City-County Councilor Kent Smith (R-At Large), was arrested for bringing a knife to school. The day before, a parent called and advised the school that a student was going to bring a weapon. That tip resulted in a search of all students that uncovered Smith's knife.

The Channel 13 story actually states without attribution:

"He's described as a good student who made a poor choice." By whom? I ask because I would describe him as a complete idiot. If the comment that follows the Channel 13 story is, indeed, from his friend, then Smith was on the verge of graduating with pretty good prospects for a full-ride to college. Now, if he doesn't get expelled, it will only be because principals of schools don't generally mess with sons of city-county councilors. Any other kid would be toast under the school's zero tolerance policy.

On the "merits," let me just say that nobody brings a knife to school with an altruistic motive, so we have to wonder what his endgame was. Since he was caught, I'm sure he'll tell everybody he was just going to use it to dissect a frog in biology. Sorry, but if your judgment is so poor you'd take a knife to school, I'd call it even odds that you'd use it if provoked or give it to somebody who would.

This gets me to my original question. Is this Kent Smith's fault? Even a little? Are we entitled as a citizenry to suggest when something like this happens that there are more important things Kent Smith should be doing than attending city-county council and Republican club meetings? Or do we just say, "Some kids are just going to be mislead or go bad and but for the grace of God, go us all?"

What's your take, friends? Help me solve my dilemma.



Anonymous said...

The young man is 100% responsible. This has nothing to do with parental oversight. However, if he really IS a good kid (no prior offenses) who made a bad choice, then let's not ruin his future based on some "no tolerance" policy. I would hope that school systems could make that call for any good kid - city council child or not.

Anonymous said...

Hence the idiocy of "zero tolerance" policies. Ultimately, tolerance is what made this country great.

The retreat of tolerance is largely what has made this country less than it used to be. Republicans have lead that charge against tolerance, so pardon me if I'm not too sympathetic towards this child of a prominent Republican who reaps what his father and his buddies have sown.

Anonymous said...

Zero tolerance policies are idiotic and unwarranted in many instances. It is the reason the juvenile court system is overburdened and that children are deemed criminals for small instances that used to be handled by schools and parents. I recently saw a story about an elementary kid that took a camping utensil (knife included) to eat his lunch at school. He was suspended, which is patently absurd. We've let these policies go too far because we choose to live out worst case scenarios, even if there's no reason to.