In an age when we cheerfully throw away our freedoms one by one in order to give the government the power to provide for our old age, insure us against poverty and disease, and bail out our financial institutions and floundering industries, why should we not also use the government's coercive police powers to rein in unruly schoolchildren?
In the far-off days of my own youth, this sort of thing was called a "discipline problem." To deal with a discipline problem, we had what was known as "disciplinary action," the nature and severity of which depended upon the circumstances. "Disciplinary action" might include a lecture from the teacher, a sit-down in the principle's office, detention after school, a note or a phone call to the parents, or a combination of the above. After being sat down by the teacher and/or the principal, the child could then expect to be sat down again by his parents when he got home. All of this was handled privately and, for the most part, quite satisfactorily, with law enforcement only being brought in as a last resort.
Now, however, calling the cops and getting the courts involved seems to be well on its way to becoming a first resort. Concerning this particularly troubling case of first-degree flatulence, a few thoughts:
1. I'm kind of disappointed the school didn't call 911 over this. It could have been a job for HazMat.
2. If this corresponds to the school's idea of a "serious" offense, how would they handle a genuinely serious situation?
3. Ever notice that back when we didn't call the cops for things like this, this was about as serious as most disciplinary problems got? Now we do involve the police in this sort of thing, and even routinely maintain a police presence on campus, and yet children are committing unbelievable crimes on and off campus.
Does that not suggest that an increased police presence in the schools is really just a bandaid, and the real solution to this problem lies elsewhere?