June 1, 2000: My Idea for a New Law — Make Parents Responsible for Their Kids

The last thing we need in this state are more laws but I’ve got an idea for one I think might be worth the time and attention of our legislators.  They aren’t going to have much to do next year other than deal with a small matter of whether or not to change the state flag.  That shouldn’t take long.  They have already gotten the big issue out of the way with the Bremen High School Protection Act that makes it illegal to beat the Fightin’ Murphs at anything.

My idea is to hold parents totally responsible for their kids.  Novel idea, isn’t it?

If a kid brings a gun to school, go arrest the parents and throw their fannies in jail.  If their child sasses a teacher or cuts class or sneaks out behind the school to smoke pot, go find either parent, or both, and have them write, “I have done a sorry job of raising my child and I apologize” on the blackboard a few hundred times.

If Junior or Sis doesn’t turn in their homework, give the parents one day to do it on their behalf, grade the work and if it isn’t “A” material, make them do it over until it is.

If their male child shows up with his underwear showing over his pants and his hair down to his waist, make Momma and Daddy write a 5000-word essay on good grooming.  Again, if it isn’t “A” material, do it over.

Recently at St. Simons, I was awakened at 5:30 AM by a bunch of teenagers cavorting in a hot tub at the condominium where we were staying.  If the law I am proposing is passed, we will be able to go into their homes, wake their no-good parents and have them stand at attention in the hot sun for the next 24 hours.  That would take care of any future problems.

While we are at it, let’s talk about having young people saying “yes ma’am” and “no sir.”  That seems to be on the minds of a lot of people these days.  Of course, we want that chore placed on the schools, not in the home.  Let me give you a clue.  I said, “ma’am” and “sir” without the school’s help and at my advanced age, I still do.  My daddy told me to.  He had this simple notion that he set the rules of my conduct, not the education system.  Therefore, my law would require that any child who can’t be polite when addressing an adult watch Mama and Daddy get their mouths washed out with soap.  What happens then would be between the parents and the child when they got home.  The law wouldn’t be specific about that.

I think my law also would effectively deal with the issue of the separation of church and state.  Many people want to see prayer in the school feeling, I assume, that the public school system should also be responsible for their children’s religious training as well.  That is going to be impossible under the education reforms mandated by Governor Barnes.  Right now, schools can’t find enough time for PE or band practice, let alone trying to squeeze in prayer.  So here is what my law would do.  Anybody who feels strongly about prayer in the schools would have to turn in a signed affidavit to the local board of education that they had attended a church, synagogue or mosque for 52 straight weeks as a family and had been seen on their knees, praying to God for wisdom and guidance on how to become a better parent, husband, wife, son, daughter, etc.  With that, their kids could go out behind the school where they used to smoke pot and pray instead.   (Governor, if you are interested, I would be willing to amend my proposal to pray also for more time for band practice and physical education.)

There may be an item or two I have missed but we have time to refine the proposed legislation.  School is out.  Teachers have a few months to rest up before they once again begin their baby-sitting service for parents who don’t have time to raise their kids.  We can take down the metal detectors, wave good-bye to the school police, wash and groom the drug-sniffing dogs.  In August, we can start the whole thing over.

By then, I will have my legislation ready for the General Assembly.  Can there be anybody in opposition?