Growing up too fast

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008

By Staff
As we go about our busy lives, it is impossible to keep up with every bill that is passed by the North Carolina General Assembly. On June 27 of this year, House Bill 485 was signed in to law. The new law requires school systems across the state to inform students in grades nine through 12 about child-abandonment laws.
Under House Bill 485, a parent who is a minor may take a newborn baby (under seven days old) to a health-care provider, a law-enforcement officer, a social worker or an emergency medical technician to be “abandoned.’ The bill calls on local boards of education to adopt regulations to make sure that the new policy is explained to every high school student.
Everyone is aware of the constant need to raise the academic standards of our students. Technology changes everyday. Educators are challenged to keep up with the advances in technology and to pass them along to the students. Too often, yesterday’s lesson already has become obsolete. Reading, writing and arithmetic alone will no longer prepare students to meet the challenges found in the workplaces of the 21st century.
Several years ago, teachers, principals, librarians and school secretaries were able to meet the needs of the students. In addition to these core employees, schools are now staffed with nurses, social workers, psychologists, law-enforcement officers and many other service providers. The days are gone when mothers made sure that their children left home with full stomachs and kisses on their cheeks. In addition to meeting the challenges of providing a good education, school personnel are required to provide services and care that used to be provided by loving parents at home.
These days, some of us remember the atmosphere that was found in Beaver Cleaver’s elementary-school classroom and wish it could be available to our children and grandchildren. The most serious problems in that classroom were students talking out of turn and chewing gum. Too often today, drugs and weapons are found on our school campuses. Today, children arrive at school who have not been fed breakfast or have been encouraged to do well by kisses from their mothers. Today, our children are growing up too fast. The innocence of our children is lost earlier and earlier every year.
House Bill 485 puts school boards and school administrators in an extremely unpleasant situation. How does a school system inform students about a child-abandonment law without seeming to promote it? The legislators have put school personnel in a difficult position by passing this piece of legislation.
Thank God for good parents who provide for the total needs of their children. The need for House Bill 485 speaks volumes about the decline of standards in our state and nation. For the sake of future generations, change is needed now. The standards for everyone have to be raised now.