Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 9, 2012

Letter to the editor - Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

New ‘school’ OKs lack of discipline

The “Twilight School” discussed in a Kokomo Tribune article sounds like a wonderful concept in the short run but fails our society in the long run.

The opening paragraph talks about a student who allegedly missed 10 out of the first 12 days of school. Because of the opportunity to take classes on his schedule, he may now be able to complete high school.

The systemic problem is our consistent failure to reinforce the need for discipline across the board in our schools, our homes and our workplaces.

According to the American Heritage dictionary, discipline is defined as, “Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” And, “Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.”

For decades the U.S. Army was a major force that shaped a significant number of our young men; basic training taught the essentials of hygiene, discipline and living with others, among other valuable life lessons. In 1973 the draft ended, and fewer and fewer of our young men received that basic “socialization.” That shifted more of the burden on another institution, the school, to socialize our youth.

In the not so distant past a student would have been expected to simply go to bed at a reasonable hour and come to school. His parents would have been expected to ensure that this happened. With the Twilight School, it seems another institution is no longer able or willing to teach these skills – to discipline our youth.

While students at the Twilight School may be able to receive a diploma, the real question remains, will they become productive citizens contributing to our society?

What has been reinforced is you can do what you want to on your own schedule. I doubt that will be a valuable skill for a future employer. What about parenting responsibilities? How about responsibility in general?

What is the future for our country and our youth? Unfortunately, our quest to let people choose alternate paths to enhance their individuality weakens our society.

A weakened society weakens our country. Discipline and cohesion are essential for a strong society. Chief Tecumseh is quoted as saying a single twig is easily broken but twigs bound together are strong.

Our short-sighted desire for individuality is making our country a land of single twigs. The generation that stood against evil in World War II was a strong country of bound twigs.

The article that appeared about the Twilight School should be a wakeup call to our community!

David Wallace, Kokomo