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How Far We’ve Fallen

By Greg L | 19 November 2008 | Prince William County | 11 Comments

It’s not that unusual to have teachers trying to prevent students from flashing gang signs, especially when the school is located in an area where there’s a lot of gang graffiti popping up.  But what do we do when teachers are forced to do this with first graders?

Six year olds.  Flashing gang signs.  We’re in trouble, folks.

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  1. freedom said on 19 Nov 2008 at 9:32 am:
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    Greg, did I miss the part about where first graders are flashing gang signs? Has this been reported as a problem in the schools or is it just a “likely problem”?

  2. K.O'toole said on 19 Nov 2008 at 10:22 am:
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    America is increasingly lacking in-self control, explains Bradley. He says adults no longer restrain themselves from destructive actions and behaviors, because they have not been taught to do so as children.

    “A few decades ago, people were just as human as we are in this decade,” he writes. “Like us, they got angry, they lusted, they coveted, and they drowned their grief by one means or another. But in one important way, they were different from us – they had greater self-control. Because they were more self-restraining, they did not allow themselves to be ruled by their anger; hence the murder rate was markedly less. They lusted, but they had greater sexual self-restraint, so had sexual contact with fewer people and contracted fewer STDs. They coveted other people’s money and possessions, but they had the ability to not act on their covetousness; hence fewer were compelled to steal. In the last 40 years we have lost the virtue of self-control. No longer is our society populated by individuals who can restrain or ‘govern’ themselves. To lack the capacity to control one’s urges or passions is to lack what our nation’s Founders called personal ’self-government.’”

    Bradley contends that liberalism is the natural condition of the human heart and for people to be capable of self-government, they must be trained against their own nature.”


  3. Greg L said on 19 Nov 2008 at 11:21 am:
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    This happened at my daughter’s school. Her teacher told her something that she interpreted as meaning that American Sign Language was prohibited at her school, and when we dove down to figure out what was going on it turned out that some of the crumb-crunchers were imitating flashing gang signs (presumably learned from their older siblings) and the staff put the kibosh on it. Six year olds can’t easily distinguish between ASL and some of these gang signs.

    It’s not that anyone at the school acted inappropriately here, but it’s terribly sad that staff had to act at all. You’d think that there wouldn’t be much of a need to insulate six year old children from gang behavior, but this is a rather different world than the one I grew up in.

    The window where children are allowed to be innocent is shrinking rapidly.

  4. DportM said on 19 Nov 2008 at 12:41 pm:
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    My daughter used to attend the same school and she knew children who attended school there who were gang members - in elementary school! Right by the recent multiple MS-13 graffiti… I have been told by both PWC and Gang Task Force officers that our neighborhood does have very active gangs.

  5. Johnson said on 19 Nov 2008 at 3:02 pm:
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    That’s their culture. Let’s help them promulgate it elsewhere.

  6. ben said on 19 Nov 2008 at 4:04 pm:
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    yep. deport them ALL!!!!!!

  7. Dave in PWC said on 19 Nov 2008 at 9:00 pm:
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    round em up, move em out. Keep the pressure up. How about another meeting on a Saturday at a 7-11?

  8. Bridget said on 20 Nov 2008 at 8:07 am:
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    How far indeed:

    Mexican First-Grade Teacher Caught Moonlighting - As A Drug Dealer …. in Texas.


  9. freedom said on 20 Nov 2008 at 8:43 am:
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    I don’t doubt it a bit…older siblings pick up on things like the gang signs and mimic them to draw attention from their peers, not having the slightest idea of what it all means, but only that it’s something different, and “hey, look at me, I’m cool.” I certainly don’t condone it, not at all, but kids do things to seek attention. Teenage smoking is an example, “look at me, I’m cool,” and a kid announcing how he/she “got drunk” on Saturday night — whether they actually did or not — just for the attention.

    I agree Greg, it’s a sad thing that kids can’t find something wholesome to emulate. Hopefully, kids making the signs doesn’t mean that they’re being suckered into the gangs, just that they’re playing “big-shot.”

    If we can devote sufficient police attention to the gangs and shut ‘em down, the mimickery will disappear.

  10. ny state of mind said on 20 Nov 2008 at 2:13 pm:
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    I grew up in NY. We had kids hanging with gangs starting in my elementary school starting at about 5th grade. All kinds of kids. Kids often mimic what they see adults and older kids around them doing. Often in their own families. Or their own neighborhoods. I guess they got concerned in our district because it had seeped into elementary school and that was a line no one wanted to cross.

    Our school district started making rules more like private and parochial schools. The consequences for infractions became harsher. We had the police more involved. We had the police coming to school more. We had metal detectors before they were fashionable. We had a dress code. We had to dress like we were going to work. Proper English had to be spoken in school, or they’d put you in the special class until you decided to speak properly (there was no “yo” during school hours). We were pretty much on lock down during school hours. I didn’t mind it. I felt a bit like a yard bird at lunch time, but that was okay. I found the scared straight stuff they trooped us off to entertaining (my family tended to be cops). The school became more about learning again. The bad kids were marginalized. They became losers to the rest of us who were able to focus on the important stuff: learning and sports. After enough bad eggs got marched out in handcuffs for damaging school property or fighting, it stopped. I don’t think they thought the principals would have the kahunas. They did.

    By the time I was in junior high, they’d kind of regained control a bit. High school, well, that was a different story. That’s always a different story. But even then, they had more control than they had before.

    Here in fuzzy, liberal, wealthy northern Virginia which I still have trouble seeing as rough place, I don’t see anyone having the kahunas. State-sponsored basketball doesn’t really work. (My friends and I would go shoot hoops with the cops, but we weren’t felons-in-the-making.) You have to have rules and you have to punish rule-breakers - swiftly and harshly and in a manner that they do not enjoy. Otherwise, no one learns anything.

  11. freedom said on 21 Nov 2008 at 1:42 pm:
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    Wow ny state of mind….I couldn’t agree with you more that the “crack down” needs to happen…wish we could get that implemented here. Do you think the school board would have any part of it? I seriously doubt it.

    I’m a very strong proponent of school uniforms. Just yesterday, I saw a Mom and two children in the grocery store and the girls were both wearing Aquinas school uniforms. Too expensive? Hardly. Uniforms can be recycled from family to family and they’re CERTAINLY not so expensive as the name brand hip-huggers.

    It was so refreshing to see professional dress instead of the skin tight pants or the baggy pants with crotch at knee level.

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