Advertisement

Officer Was Mistaken as to Parentage of 'Kids'

November 20, 1994

In "Police Net 74 Students in Truancy Sweep" (Times, Oct. 26), Officer Ken Knox "sternly told the principal of Taft High School after he brought in 31 students last week" that "we are not here to baby-sit your kids." He is also quoted as saying, "We want to make the message clear to the principal that he has to control his kids." But your reporter did not attempt to get the principal's side of the story, leaving Officer Knox's misplaced paternity identification to stand uncorrected.

These truant students are not the principal's kids. They're not mine either. Our school classroom doors are open. They offer educational opportunity to all who are enrolled at Taft. Some students reject the opportunity.

It would be easy at this point to blame the parents of the truants; shouldn't they be responsible for having their children in school? Would that it were so simple. A parent told me he asked his son to swear on his grandmother's grave that he was going to school. He did so, and when he was arrested for truancy he said, "I told the truth! I swore I would go to school. But I didn't swear I'd go to class in the school."

In an era when everyone resorts to such rationalizations to avoid personal responsibility, the time is overdue when we recognize that passing the responsibility to someone else doesn't solve the problem. Neither does a slap on the wrist. Maybe we should make the punishment a family one and put the parents and children together in the classroom to make sure the student is really getting to the classroom (just as soon as we build bigger rooms, since we're already stuffed to the rafters with 40-plus size classes).

ABRAHAM HOFFMAN

Woodland Hills

Hoffman is in the social studies department at William Howard Taft High School.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|