Parents have responsibility in education

Published 12:06 am Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Natchez-Adams School District is in a serious crisis.

I recently read two Natchez Democrat articles that really got my attention. The first one stated four out of five schools got an F rating. The second one stated the Mississippi Department of Education might take over Morgantown Middle School.

It was their third year of having an F rating, and the high school was only a year from being where Morgantown is now. This definitely should be alarming news to every concerned parent involved.

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As a motivational speaker and youth mentor, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at some of the schools here. I got a chance to listen to the teachers, students and the parents. The parents blamed the teachers, the teachers blamed the parents and the students blamed everyone.

I have several family members that are teachers, and the information I got from them was very helpful in making me understand just what’s really happening here. It’s a reality that education has become a formality now. The teachers are fed up with the parents that take sides with the students. The parents have empowered the students, and that’s devastating for any teacher.

I can remember attending Broomfield Elementary School as a child. But what I remember the most is the fear of disobeying my teacher. I can still feel the sting of that leather strap on the palm of my outstretched hand. Then I had to take that dreaded ride home on the bus to get my second whooping from my Mama. That’s because the teacher had all the credibility back then.

The parents of today are so quick to think that their child is an angel. I’ve sat at many youth sports games here. I’ve heard numerous parents blame the coaches for their child’s inability to perform up to standards. We’re breeding a culture of dysfunctional youths.

We’re allowing the television, Internet and violent video games to raise our children. If you just purchased the newly released video game “Grand Theft Auto 5” for your child that’s failing in school, you’ve just added to the problem. That money could’ve gone towards a tutor. I’ve talked to parents that are genuinely scared of their children.

Your parents made you and your education a priority. You should do the same for your children. You have to be passionate about children to be a teacher. But once that passion leaves, the teacher stops teaching, and the kids stop learning. It’s not the teacher’s job to teach your child morals and principals. That education starts at home.

Raise a child in the ways of the church. Nurture them and help them build character. Prepare them for life after high school. It’s a known fact one in three students is a bully at school. That bully is definitely headed for trouble. The streets will eventually find him or her all the wrong role models.

We’re living in a forever-changing world. It’s time to change the way things have been done. It’s not going to be easy, but anything worthwhile isn’t easy. Natchez is a very small town. We should be able to come together. It’s going to take a concerted effort to do it.

Where are all the spiritual, political and business leaders? It’s time to get innovative and creative.

What are we doing to entice our children to come back to Natchez once they finish college? The problem is not going to fix itself. I’ve written several articles to this paper concerning our troubled youth.

Not one single person has ever come to me and said, “let’s do something about it.” What does that really say about us?

I can only speak about what I’ve seen and experienced. I’m self-educated and prison raised. I spent most of my young adult life incarcerated. My very first arrest was for armed robbery and kidnapping.

I was just 17 but tried as an adult. I got my G.E.D. in youth authority. So that’s what makes me an expert on what I write about. I’m a living example of what you don’t want your child to go through. But I turned my life around.

I was raised in the ways of the church. You are in control of your child’s destiny. If you really want to help your child, please don’t blame the teacher.


Greg Marshall is a Natchez resident and author.