Once again the Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority has shut down the Rapid terminal in downtown Grand Rapids where students from the city's high schools gather to changes buses going to and from home. The reason is that too many of these students are thugs who insist upon brawling instead of waiting peaceably for transfer buses. These slugfests are serious enough to result in arrests by the Grand Rapids police, as happened Tuesday and prompted Wednesday's closing of the terminal.
In response, officials of the Grand Rapids Public School District are wringing their hands. According to the Grand Rapids Press, the district's director of security, Larry Johnson, says he's disappointed but closing down the terminal is not the answer. Yet he and the ten security officers he has assigned to the terminal have no answers. "I'm at a loss about what to do", he bemoaned. Superintendent Bernard Taylor was similarly clueless. On the one hand he has complained that arresting brawlers creates an unfair impression of city students, while on the other he has begged students in a letter to behave better. (Think about this for a moment, dear readers. Doesn't such a letter do exactly what Taylor complains of, because he lays the problem on all students instead of just the miscreants?)
Of course, that's the heart of the problem: To avoid holding those responsible for the increasing violence among city students, public school officials blame everyone else. If not always directly, they do so by putting the burden of solving the problem on everyone but themselves. Why this is so, is a bit baffling. It's not difficult to solve. Expel those students who will not comply with the discipline that keeps the order necessary for effective education. Yes, I know that the pantywaist bleeting against explusion is that our public schools will no longer have any influence over these thugs to somehow put them on the path of good citizenship. True, but then that's not their job.
A student's unwillingness to behave is not the responsibility of our public schools to correct. It is the job of the student's parents or guardians, not our public schools, to build the character in him or her that doesn't succumb to impulse and malice. It is the job of our public schools to maintain discipline so that all other students have the opportunity to learn in a tranquil environment. By not expelling the thugs and miscreants, public school officials have tacitly put the interests of these bad actors over the great majority of students who are at school to get an education.