7) Return freedom of voluntary (not mandated) prayer to the schools and all public places. Federal law. Erasing God from the public square has not worked. It has created a void that greedy interests have filled with shallow values and outright sleaze. Further, while comedians may think it’s funny to talk about, for example, “no prayer in schools…but the University of Michigan is building prayer rooms for Muslims,” as was announced in 2007;** or, “no public prayer…but they’re building prayer rooms for one faith at the airport”…I don’t. Of course there is nothing wrong with letting people express religious beliefs — in appropriate settings and without mandating that anyone else do or believe the same — in public settings. Now we must extend that same courtesy to all faiths, including the Christian faith tradition that was at the core of the founding of this nation. As a bonus, by allowing voluntary expressions of religious expression we will potentially be providing a spiritual haven for someone who would have become the next mass killer.
8) Return the every-morning Pledge of Allegiance to schools. Federal law. Many of us grew up with this and it helped set a tone that the classroom, the teacher, the school, the NATION were all to be respected, and that we were lucky to be here. No nation on earth lets uncaring idiots control these kinds of things the way we currently do in America, and it is time for it to end. No exceptions.
9) Force schools to address, in meaningful ways, the serious bullying that has provably and directly led to a number of these shootings. Federal, state, and local action. This nation has now experienced story after story, for years on end, of out-of-control bullying of some students by others–and school administrators who ignore and deny it; who even when confronted with clear evidence, take no action to resolve it; and who instead ostracize and humiliate the victims of bullying and their families. This must come to an end because it is a primary reason schools became the preferred venue for these mass killings. School administrators must take action on bullying–or be replaced in their jobs by those who take it seriously and act accordingly.
10) End the National Education Association (NEA)’s war on homeschooling. Federal-state-local action. I was not homeschooled, but more and more families are choosing this option, and it is time the defenders of “choice” in other areas (I’ll get to them in a moment) knock it off and support whatever is best for the children. How dare you do everything in your power to force families to release their children into your care when you cannot begin to ensure their safety or the safety of teachers? When you by and large not only do nothing about bullying but ostracize and humiliate victims and their families? Do you think you somehow have the right to force families to send the most precious things in their lives, their children, off to a place where odds are high they will be bullied by a fellow student, and odds are rising that they will someday find themselves utterly defenseless in a shooting gallery? Damned right, you don’t.
** After a public outcry, the university has now made them available to all faiths
“Newtown calls for new answers” is a five-part blog series, each of which focuses on specific areas I believe we must address, together, to help stem the rising tide of violence in America.