by A.W.R. Hawkins
Ever since men wore animal skins and war paint, society took it for granted that boys did not become men spontaneously. Nature was important, but nurture just as much.
Boys had to be taught to become responsible, good men, and it took a lot of time and effort to do it. It was -- and still is -- one of the principal duties of fatherhood: a duty which includes teaching boys how to use tools like screwdrivers, hammers, and knives.
Yes, a knife is a tool that boys need to learn how to use responsibly. But that is intolerable to the educrats who seem to think that manhood is a disease that boys must be inoculated against. Their bizarre reaction to actually discovering that a boy might be learning about knives in range of their writ is shocking even in this politically correct atmosphere.
Across the nation, “Zero Tolerance” polices are commonplace in public school district after public school district. And while they were ostensibly instituted to stop kids from bringing weapons on campus following the 1999 Columbine massacre, they’re actually just another tool which liberals and over zealous school board members use to war against manhood.
This has been clearly demonstrated during the past few weeks with the suspensions of Eagle Scout Matthew Whalen of Troy, New York and Cub Scout Zachary Christie of Newark, Delaware. Whalen’s infraction was “having a 2-inch pocketknife…in a survival kit in his car,” and Christie’s violation, equally heinous, was taking “a combination folding knife, fork and spoon” to school to use when eating lunch.
Last week, Whalen, a Lansingburgh High School Senior who plans to enter the Army’s West Point Academy after graduating, received a 5-day suspension from the Lansingburgh Central School District board on the grounds that his pocketknife -- locked in a survival kit which was locked in his car -- violated the district’s “Zero Tolerance” policy.
After reviewing the board’s judgment, Lansingburgh Central School District Superintendent George J. Goodwin added another 15 days to the suspension on October 14, 2009, saying he believes a 20-day suspension is “appropriate and fair.”
Ironically, it is widely reported that “Mr. Appropriate and Fair” did not even attend the original hearing where Whalen received the 5-day suspension. Rather, Goodwin extended the suspension based on a recording of the proceedings. Moreover, he has declined to meet with Whalen’s parents, although they’ve requested meetings, and he refuses to provide Whalen with the opportunity to appeal his case.
Did I mention that in addition to being an Eagle Scout and aspiring to West Point, Whalen also has a “Life-Saving Heroism” award he received from the Boy Scouts “for performing CPR on his aunt after she had a seizure”? The kid is a certified hero.
Yet with pompous disregard for Whalen’s heroism or the fact that he is a boy transitioning into a young man, Goodwin can only spew the usual leftist bilge like: “Sometimes young people do things they may not see as serious, [but] we look at any possession of any type of knife as serious."
It’s as if educrat Goodwin wants to make an example out of Whalen to discourage others from being like him. Yes, for heaven’s sake, Mr. Goodwin. In 2009 America, what we need is fewer young heroes like Whalen who are already on the road to becoming good, responsible citizens.
This is the same kind of “one size fits all” liberalism that makes it a standing policy in most public schools that if someone hits you and you hit back in self-defense, you face the same punishment as the instigator because you swung too. It is nothing less than a war on manhood, and one most often conducted by “men” like Goodwin, who benefit from holding positions that allow them to pass judgments without ever coming face to face with those they’ve judged.
On those rare and happy occasions, when the Goodwins of the world are exposed and forced to deal with the reckless decisions that they make behind the veil of “Zero Tolerance” policies, good things can happen. Such was the case for 6-year old Zachary Christie, whose story rallied the nation to his cause after people learned that his school district had suspended him for 45 days for “taking his favorite camping utensil” to school.
That’s right -- 45 days.
After Christie was suspended on September 29, 2009, the public outcry against the Christina School District was so strong that his parents were granted the opportunity to appeal the district’s decision. The appeal ended with news outlets around the nation reporting Christie’s suspension had been dismissed in the middle of last week.
If we just think rationally for a moment, like the Christina School Board was forced to do when their actions came to light, it’s asinine to view a 6-year old Cub Scout and his “spork” as a danger to himself or those around him. Yet I understand that rational thinking is not a trait common to leftists intent on waging war against manhood.
Perhaps if the public outcry were as loud in Whalen’s case as it was in Christie’s, Goodwin might rethink his seeming infallibility and grant Whalen a reprieve. Who knows how much good a few phone calls and emails to Goodwin’s office denouncing this war on manhood might do?
I know I’ve already emailed and called in my request that Whalen be re-admitted and these ludicrous “Zero Tolerance” policies dropped. If you’d like to do the same, Fox News provided Goodwin’s office number as (518) 233-6850 and his e-mail as email@example.com