Violence Begins At Home

A report today of a teacher assaulted and seriously injured at the local high school has me thinking about my own experiences with that school’s ‘kids’. I prepared a 20 page supporting document to have my daughter attend an ‘out of area’ school next year when she goes to High School because of the fears we hold for her if she were to attend this school. I have seen the police form a skirmish line and drive mobs of school kids milling about the forecourt of a petrol station at a nearby campus of the same college. We know the kids that go to this school because she has had several years of primary school with them and the good ones are few and far between.

I blame the parents, totally. So many of them are dysfunctional, substance abusing and with below average IQs and more practically, low emotional intelligence. They are what the Americans would call trailer trash or ‘Wal-Polloi’. We call them ‘bogans’, ‘westies’ or ‘yobbo’s’. Social invective aside, it doesn’t change the outcomes. You can have all the sympathy in the world for them and their plight but in Australia in 2010 there is little excuse other than mental illness to explain their parenting style. Those that have parents. Most are lucky to have one and too many have ‘care givers’ or carers. Guardians is the old term. Caregiver or carer is so much fuzzier, don’t you think? Doesn’t change the outcome though.

I repudiate any claim that poverty causes such anti-social behaviour and built up anger. It doesn’t help but the facts are that these people would be broke even if they received twice the benefits or wages they get now. As the English humourist C.N. Parkinson once said, ‘expenses will rise to meet income’. For several years now we have been living on exactly the same income they do, more or less, as I was a student for 18 months, then unemployed for a few more while convalescing from my heart surgery and now we are in the NEIS stream, which is the same income as the unemployment benefit while you develop your own business. Yet we have a mortgage, superannuation, private health insurance, pay off a block of land and eat well. It is tough and requires discipline and a good budget as well as the will to say ‘no’ a lot of the time but we manage. Both our school age children are doing well with the eldest a vice-captain.

So it has little if anything to do with income level and everything to do with one’s upbringing. I was brought up well, I feel,  and so was my wife and both of us come from low income families, hers more than mine. All six kids in her family graduated high school thanks to considerable sacrifices by her parents yet they valued education highly enough to do what had to be done. In this country our education is free. Our health care is free. We can travel to school for free.  We have internet access at the library for free. We get help buying uniforms and if we have real problems we can get help on top of help! There is no excuse except, perhaps, some people are just made that way? Maybe some people are intrinsically bad. It is the only excuse I can come up with.

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