- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2000

A recent survey indicates that we are raising a nation of lying, cheating, drunk children. The people who concern themselves with this kind of social problem seem to be surprised. Seven out of 10 students admit they have cheated at least once, and half admit to doing so more than once.

Over 90 percent of those surveyed said they had lied to their parents during the past year. Seventy-eight percent had lied to a teacher, and forty-seven percent said they would lie to get a job.

What kind of moral decline are we going through you ask? Could it be that our children have been watching the evening news, where lying has been raised to an art form, particularly during an election year?

If we have a president who is guilty of perjury and suffers no penalty as a result of his actions, might a child think lying is a way of life? Just this week, we find that the president's wife also misled Travelgate investigators, and when confronted, says she thought America was tired of those investigations.

The people conducting the survey said that parents, teachers and coaches need to pay special attention because they have the most significant interactions with youngsters. Not a word about the Supreme Court banning religion from our school systems. Lies flourish, cheating is commonplace, but we don't want to corrupt their little minds with any talk of a supreme being or any of that other religious pap that might result in raising the moral standards they seem so concerned about.

The survey was conducted in both private and public schools, but the results are not separated. If it was found that lying and cheating were not as prevalent in private schools, what would the NEA do? It's a bad time to talk to kids about lying, particularly if they have been watching the debates, where lies are called exaggerations. One of the all-time great American lies, “the check is in the mail,” has been moved into second place during the reign of the Clinton administration with the words “I don't recall.”

It looks like not only have we separated church and state, but church and children, as well. We can't have it both ways. We have a political system running on lies, violence portrayed nightly on every channel, and a court system that is built on the Ten Commandments and yet objects to having them hang in a public school. We have high-level elected officials being indicted on some malfeasance of office charge about once a week. Could it be that our children are getting the wrong message?

Do you suppose that a child with failing grades who is promoted to the next level might be smart enough to understand that system is cheating and lying? Would a high school student who can barely read and is about to be pushed out into the cruel world come to school drunk? Most kids spend more time at school than they do with their parents, but we don't allow the school to discuss moral values. We may be coming to a time when graduating from a public school will be a detriment to getting a job.


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