Retired Teacher John Milnes on Why Youth Seem to be Out of Control Around the World – Letter to the Editor – August 22, 2011

South Stormont ON – Societies across the globe are wondering why the youth of today is out of control.  At the G8/G20 Toronto event, despite the legitimate protests, there was property destruction, thieving, looting and general mayhem that the police appeared unable to control. Again, in Vancouver after not winning the Stanley Cup, more property was destroyed, with looting by young hoodlums completely out of control and drawn to the gatherings through the instant effectiveness of social media. 

In London similar elements took over parts of the oldest cultural centre in the world, escalating then to cities not even remotely connected to the original cause.  The Arab Spring, though its main cause was a fight for democracy, is another example of thugs and looters using it as an excuse for their criminal acts. 

Experts tell us this is all about social deprivation; the young not being able to find employment.  Nonsense.  Britain’s prime minister has got it right, “these are thugs and hooligans, who must be made to pay the price for their destructive ways.”  Such adverse behaviour costs law abiding citizens endless tax dollars  as police struggle to bring order to our cities, towns and villages.  More damaging is the loss of life, as happened in Birmingham, England, together with injuries our brave policemen and women sustain and the destruction of public property.

However, simply punishing these thugs and hooligans is not good enough.  To put our decent young folk – and there are many – on the right track we need to get to the root of this social upheaval.  We must first determine how these folk have developed their adverse behaviourisms.  The answer is quite simple: it is a matter of a lack of respect for their parents, their teachers and their society.

The animal world would not tolerate anti-social behaviour in its young.  It serves no purpose to say we are above the animal world because, in some respects, we are not.  If a parent or a teacher corrects a youngster’s poor behaviour, as an adult animal does, they surely bring down the wrath of some do-gooder organization.  Anti-social behaviour surfaces in our schools, often as bullying.  What can the teachers, the school boards or the parents do about this?  NOTHING.   We can expel the wrong-doer but this only serves the bully’s agenda, they do not want to go to school to learn.  It would be different if every expelled student was forced to become a ward of the courts and entered into a centre where their inappopriate behaviour could be addressed. 

Until a corrective behavioural structure is evolved the thugs will keep emerging, creating more criminals. 

So, the problem grows to where we presently are in our modern day societies.  How can this problem be solved?  By having our politicians, or the courts of law, demanding the do-gooders keep their noses out of family and school matters and evolving processes through which the problems of our young are addressed. 

As a retired teacher, spending many years helping social adjustment students from the SD &G County and Catholic boards and federal government native people’s school boards, I have first hand experience of how inexpert administrators and do-gooders are destroying the very fabric of our society.  In my recently published book, ‘Making A Difference’, I give examples of how administrators removed the tools I would have used, with parental consent, to correct the adverse behaviours of those in my care; how I was badgered by social workers because I had caused the wrongdoers to be accountable for their actions.

We are at a crossroad in our social development; we need to decide whether to go straight ahead allowing the do-gooders to defend the rights of the abuser against those of the abused.  In my opinion we should be making an abrupt left or right turn, changing course appropriately, as befits the needs of our cities, towns and villages.  The democratic right of different groups to assemble and protest peacefully should not be destroyed by thugs on the lookout to piggy-back with destructive anti-social actions. 

It is time for politicians to step up to the plate, to recognize what is wrong and to legislate appropriate measures that might address the problems stalking our streets.  It is essential we bring our families and schools back into the frame where discipline is the accepted basis of our social structure.  One way to achieve this would be to re-introduce conscription whereby every young person must spend, at minimum, six months under the eagle eye of military trainers.  Discipline would be imposed and likely ingrained for all-time. 

There needs to be a mass process that will change the present indiscipline in many of our young folk into a disciplined structure that profits us all.  It would be costly but, wait a moment, isn’t it already costing every branch of society to maintain the unacceptable situation that presently exists? 

Are we content to allow this anarchy to march ever forward?  We cannot blame the parents for their hands have been tied behind them; we cannot blame the teachers for they have been shackled and fitted with blinkers.  It is the failure of our law makers, past and present, that has allowed this scene to evolve.  It is the politicians who must provide the answer to the societal dilemma. 

John E. Milnes – South Stormont

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