When kindergartners start stabbing one another and attacking pregnant teachers, does it mean the children have become Beasts of Terror or that their parents are simply Complacent in their duties as Parents of Vigilance?   Find out how Terrorism seeks and destroys a child's Power of Vigilance, and how it can be restored with love and caring.


Monday--December 16, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 460
Kindergarten Terrorism On Rise In Philadelphia--33 Suspended
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 16-- Paul Vallas is a Terror Hunter.   He hunts the kindergarten classrooms of 200,000-student Philadelphia school district for the Seeds of Terror.  When he finds a "Terrorist In Training," he banishes him or her from the classroom.   The process is called suspension.

Terrorist in Training

      So far this year Paul Vallas, appointed new schools chief in July, has overseen the expulsion of 33 kindergartners.  One of the students hit a pregnant teacher in the stomach after being warned not to.  Another stabbed a fellow student with the sharp tip of a pencil, and still another exposed himself.     Seventy-nine percent of the expulsions were boys.    The penalty for "Terrorist Behavior" in the class can be as much as ten days.
        It doesn't seem kindergarten expulsions are the privy of Philadelphia.   Walter Gilliam, a child psychologist at Yale University's Child Study Center, reports that in Connecticut in the 1999-2000 school year, 311 5-6 year olds were "tossed out" of class for behavior designed to Terrorize others.
        Gilliam is studying the effects of suspensions on the children.   "
I think it's a bad move because it absolves the school from feeling that it's necessary to deal with that problem within the school building,'' Gilliam said. "You push it out to the community, you push it out to the family home, and that's where it started to begin with.''

Family Violence in the home negatively influences children

         In opposition to the researcher's concern that the school's have a duty to deal with violent behavior Gwen Morris, who oversees alternative education for the 200,000-student district, says the "goal is to get the attention of the parents."  Morris said suspensions, combined with counseling and other measures, are helpful in the city's crackdown on school violence. None of the kindergartners have been suspended a second time, she said.
        I found the comment by researcher Gilliam falling into the Parental Complacency arena.    His comment that you "push the problem out to the community, you push it out to the family home, and that's where it started to begin with," seems to be the exact and proper way to address Terrorism rather than feed it.

Vigilant Parent taking Right Action

        It makes little sense to not indict the parents and community for the children's actions.   It further makes sense not to make the school systems learn how to reverse Terroristic behaviors.   
        A school system is nothing more than a mini government.   Asking a school system to be responsible for errant behavior is taking a giant step away from the role of the community and parent in teaching a child how to be a Sentinel of Vigilance rather than a Beast of Terror.   
        "Criminalizing" behavior such as stabbing another student or hitting a pregnant teacher or exposing ones self to the class sets up an Amber Alert in the community that the child in question has been kidnapped by the Beast of Terror.   It brings the problem to the surface rather than buries it in government's already bursting "womb of responsibility."
         We forget that incorrigible behavior starts with incorrigible parenting.   Parents who live in the quagmire of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency tend to transfer that primordial ooze into the pores of their children.   Society, commonly used to turning its head and assuming parental duties of guardianship over children despite their parents, has only so many arms to hold the children.   At a point, there are too many to be managed and the system collapses.
           But when society sends a Terroristic child back to its parents and demands that the behavior be altered, one of two options exist.  Either the parent is going to climb out of his or her Complacency quagmire and take action and responsibility, or, the parent can ignore society's demand for parental responsibility and remove the child from its educational tutelage.
           In Philadelphia, it seems the suspension rule is working.   Repeating cases of such behavior leading to suspension the second time haven't risen.  

Draw your Line of Vigilance

          For me, the issue is about where the Line of Vigilance is drawn in the sand--is it closer to the parent or society in duty and responsibility to protect the children, and their children's children?
           Without question, I believe that line is a circle encompassing the parent.   I believe any parent who tries to shuffle off his or her duty to raise a Child of Vigilance is in fact a defacto Terrorist.    Through Complacency, such a parent denies his or her duty to the child and society.
            I'm also a believer that any "crime" a child commits should be punishable not to the child, but to the parents.   They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and a child's Acts of Terror against others reflects clearly the mirror of Complacency the parents hold.  It reflects mismanagement of parenting back upon the parent.  The child, in essence, is a Victim of Complacency.

Parents and Grandparents Form a Circle of Vigilance

     I see the Philadelphia edict for kindergarten suspension a way of taking away parental hiding places for a child's behavior.    That's good. Vigilance only works when society demands parents shoulder the job of responsibility for their children's actions.   Only when parents are Sentinels of Vigilance, teaching a child at least one percent more Courage than Fear, one percent more Conviction than Intimidation, and how to take at least one percent more Right Actions than fall Complacent to foul behavior that stems from moral or social Complacency--only then will society move up the evolutionary ladder of Vigilance.
          Unfortunately, the problem with Terrorism is that it's not so obvious most of the time.   A child can be a "Terrorist in Training" without stabbing another child with a pencil, or hitting a teacher's pregnant womb, or exposing himself before a class.

A child of Terrorism

          Some Children of Terrorism just sit in a catatonic state, staring blankly at the world going by.   They are the Quiet Terrorists, children who sleep with covers pulled over their heads, fearful of the sounds oozing under the door from their parents' arguments, or fearful of the rage of one of them bursting through the door.
         Others brace themselves when they come in the door for a verbal assault, or, worse, no recognition of their need to be loved.    We think of Terrorism in schools in terms of inner city areas where crime and violence roars like Dante's Inferno and neglect to recognize it seethes just as nefariously in the up-scale communities where the parking lot is filled with SUVs dumping off children and dotted by nannies taking little ones here and there, all dressed in bright clothes with shiny fresh faces.

Lyle and Erik Menendez, alleged victims of abuse, savagely shot-gunned their parents

        But inside the children are the Menendez Brothers, or the child who rushes home to show the bright star he or she got in class only to find the parents far too busy with "their lives" to take time out to become part of the child's life.   What Terror is there in a child being slapped across the face by the hand of Indifference versus being backhanded for interrupting a soap opera?
          Movies like the popular seventies' Breakfast Club depicting the alienation of teenagers in detention, and their sad souls spilling out on the floor, illustrate that Terrorism isn't just about stabbing other children or hitting teachers, or setting fire to the school, or bringing a gun to show your friends you are "cool."
          "My parents don't care," is just as Terroristic a statement as "My parents are drunk, they won't know..."  Indifference is indifference, whether it is induced by parental social degeneration or social climbing.  
         And the same solution is necessary.   Parents need to be held accountable.
         I am always amazed to hear a parent say:  "My child would never do that!"
         I find such a statement an example of Parental Denial, of Parental Negligence, of Parental Disassociation.   Any child is capable of anything.    A parent who assumes his or her child is "above the Beast of Terror's grip," is like the negligent parent who leaves the door unlocked on the assumption the bad guys will swerve around their house in the dark of night to fill their bags with loot.

       Children are human beings.   They have within them the power of Vigilance and the power of Terrorism.   Which power is trained, nurtured managed, or which power is neglected results in the child's stature as a human being.   If Vigilance is polished by the parents through their acts and deeds of love and consideration for the child, the Beast of Terror is restrained.   Odds are the child won't grow up looking in the mirror and seeing a loser, a failure, someone who is less than others, or a victim of life surrounded by people who only care about their outsides and none of their insides.
         Sending kids home to their community and parents who express violent behavior is only the tip of the iceberg.   What about he kids who don't feel their parents love them?   Which is a more important crime against society, and more threatening to everyone?
        It would seem to me that the child who feels unloved is the bigger concern.
       Perhaps instead of waiting for a child to stab another child, or attack a teacher, we should have a test each morning for all kindergartners.  It's a simple test.

      Each child is asked to come to the front of the room and tell the class how their parents gave them a big love before they left them off.
       If they didn't get one, their parents would be called and summoned to the school.  And, before the entire class, write on the blackboard one-hundred times "I AM A PARENT OF VIGILANCE.  I LOVE ______!"
       Perhaps if this were done, we wouldn't have to wait for a child to stab another, or attack a teacher, or take a rifle and shoot people at random.

Dec. 16--Felling The Terrorist Tree

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