Mar. 12, 2001: Once again, it is open season in America’s schools.

Two students killed in San Diego. One wounded in Pennsylvania. The very real prospect of future teenage copycats trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. What is going on? If you listen to the media and liberal politicians, they will tell you that the answer to school violence is more gun control. They are wrong. The answer is more parent control.

At the same time that gutless cowards were gunning down innocent people, prestigious Harrison High School in Cobb County was experiencing a drug bust. Thirteen students were arrested for selling drugs to an undercover policeman. The reaction? The president of the PTA assured us that drugs were no bigger a problem at Harrison than at any other school. One parent even complained of “police entrapment.” Hello. Is anybody home?

Ours is an indulgent and permissive society in which no one wants to take responsibility for anything. We are afraid to tell our kids “no” for fear of them not liking us. We want them to be popular and fit in. We are more concerned about the clothes they wear and the cars they drive and that they have the freedom to wear earrings and dye their hair purple than we are about them being in a structured and disciplined environment in which they learn something.

We feed kids a constant diet of trash – trash music, trash movies, trash television and trash talking athletes. We buy them violent video games and let them listen to rappers who encourage more violence and then we wring our hands and wonder why some nut case would take a gun into school and shoot innocent people.

When I was in school, teachers were admired and respected individuals whose word was law. The classroom was their domain. What they said was the way it was going to be and parents backed them up. I didn’t like a lot of what I heard and on several occasions I rebelled. The result was I got in trouble at school and in more trouble at home with parents who were totally supportive of my teachers. It was not a happy time for me and I finally decided I had better get my act together.

Today, I would just hire a lawyer and go sue somebody – the teachers, the principal, the school board. I would particularly sue the ROTC instructor who said I had to wear my uniform to and from school and if I didn’t, I would receive demerits and be forced to march after school. I refused to wear my uniform and sure enough, I marched after school.

If you were caught smoking when I was in school, you were history. Today, we have dogs sniffing lockers for stuff a lot stronger than tobacco. We have to have armed guards in our schools. In my day, we didn’t need them. The principal served as the armed guard. We had one classmate in high school who got herself compromised (if you get my drift) and she just disappeared like she had never been there. Today, high schools run day care centers for single mothers.

We say we want to improve the quality of education in our schools. Instead, we make them political footballs. As a result, teachers are told what to teach, when to teach and how to teach. They have about as much freedom as a lifer in Reidsville. And God forbid they should correct the kids. In the first place, students know how much authority the teachers have and it isn’t much. Students know also that parents will take their side.

The craziness isn’t going to stop until we decide where the ultimate, absolute buck-stops-here responsibility lies. It is not the teachers, not the governor, not the school board. It lies with the parents. Period.

Until we hold the parents responsible for seeing that their children respect their teachers, abide by the rules and make an effort to learn, we are going to have angry, uninvolved students and drug problems. Until we kick the lawyers and the civil libertarians and the politicians out of the classroom and let the teachers be in charge, we are going to face more Columbines and more Santana High Schools.

The answer is easy. The parents are the problem. The tough part is getting them to admit it and to take responsibility for their children. Until then, the inmates will continue to run the asylum and it makes me sick.