To avoid trou­ble, kids must be taught law

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion -

As a for­mer school re­source of­fi­cer, I am as­tounded at the pos­i­tive im­pact that the teach­ing of laws, es­pe­cially laws that per­tain to as­sault, theft and sub­stance abuse, con­trib­utes to­ward re­duc­ing vi­o­lence in school.

Schools teach rules but not enough law. With­out knowl­edge of the law, stu­dents rely on street rules. El­e­men­tary and mid­dle school stu­dents have not been in­structed in the ba­sic rules that guide be­hav­ior but are still be­ing held re­spon­si­ble for know­ing proper con­duct in high school. As a re­sult, too many grad­u­at­ing se­niors lack a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of the law. It isn’t enough to post po­lice of­fi­cers and se­cu­rity guards in our schools. Although these types of mea­sures and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of par­ents of­fer de­ter­rents to il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, our laws need to be taught as part of the cur­ricu­lum.

The United States has the high­est rate of in­car­cer­a­tion and homi­cide of all in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions. Teach­ing chil­dren be­hav­iors and habits based upon our laws is a ro­bust in­ter­ven­tion strat­egy that will go a long way to­ward re­duc­ing crime, el­e­vat­ing school safety and en­hanc­ing learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

As a po­lice of­fi­cer, I can think of no bet­ter in­vest­ment or crime-fight­ing pol­icy than teach­ing le­gal be­hav­iors to chil­dren. NOAH WA­TERS Up­per Marl­boro

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