The New Jungle: Our Children Trapped in Failing Public Schools

Jimmy was tired of running. He was panting heavily, his lungs burning, his legs aching with the effort. He knew he couldn’t keep up this chase and his enemies were no doubt rounding the corner coming from the other direction, catching him between them. He had to find a place to hide or they would be on him in another minute.

As he rounded the west wing of his little red brick elementary school, he tried the door he found there. Maybe he could get inside the main building; he could hide under the stairwell, or perhaps in an open class room on the first floor. Perhaps he could even alert a teacher that he was being chased.

But, no. He was out of luck. The door was locked. Unable to do anything else and without hope, Jimmy snuggled down between the corner of the building furthest from the edifice that jutted out furthest from the main body of the building. He hoped that the boys chasing him would be in too much of a hurry to notice him hunkered down there. He buried his face in his knees and prayed, hoping that the bell would ring, ending the interminably long recess allowing him to go back to the safety of his class room.

No such luck again. One of the boys rounded the corner then, and upon looking around, spotted him there along the wall.

“You’re a good hider!” the bully named Bradley exclaimed. “But not good enough.”

That was the last straw for Billy. He didn’t want to run any more, he didn’t care to be intimidated anymore; he didn’t want to be a laughing stock. He didn’t want his body to hurt any more. He didn’t want to be embarrassed as he tried to hide the bruises. Teachers and administrators did nothing, the principal seemed disinterested, he had no advocate. His parents didn’t understand the abuse he was suffering. “Why don’t you try to get along with those boys?” his dad would say before going back to his paper. Mom said, “Oh honey, it can’t be as bad as you think. Just try to fit in.”

This was the moment of truth, it was up to him. He looked for a weapon; he was too small to stand toe to toe with the other boy without one. He found one; a loose brick came out of the edifice and into his hands. As the bully came upon him then, attempting to catch him in his arms and drag him off to his compatriots, Jimmy launched himself at him, catching him off guard. The brick in his hand met with Bradley’s face, cutting him deeply across the cheekbone. Blood splattered on the paving as the bully fell backwards. He didn’t get up right away, and Jimmy wasn’t going to let him. He pummeled the injured boy over and over again with the brick, until the boy’s face was an unrecognizable red pulp. The bell rang then, and a teacher came to the door, the gym instructor, who in his shock at what he had witnessed caught Jimmy up in his arms, thus preventing him from doing any more harm. Jimmy was hauled off to the principal’s office as Bradley’s companions watched.

They would never touch him again. They were too scared of him after that to try.

Thomas was a big boy. At age thirteen he was almost six foot and heavy for his age. But he was a simple soul who would never hurt a fly. He never really fit in with his other classmates, and so he spent a lot of time alone. His parents’ divorce necessitated him to live part time at two different homes, and spend a lot of time at a grandmother’s house. Travel arrangements for school were complicated by the living arrangements. When he was in town with his mom he would ride the school bus. But when he was in the country, he would have to ride his bike a ways and then take a city bus. He did that until a homeless person found him at the bus stop and started taking his money. At first the bus driver took pity on him, but after weeks of riding without the fare, the bus driver kicked him off, and wouldn’t let him ride any more. His father worked, too early to take the boy to school, and so his grandmother would drive him on the days when he stayed with his dad. She gave him a cell phone so he could call if there was trouble, until bullies took that away from him and ran up the bill.

Thomas was too simple too protest or fight back. He was a good boy and he did what he was told. He didn’t understand why he was being treated this way. At night, whether at his mom’s or his dad’s, he would cover his head with the covers, and cry himself to sleep.

Bullies exist in our school system, they always have. I could write many more vignettes like this one, fictionalized to protect the victims, but all based on real events. I thought about including one about sex abuse, but then I would rather gouge my own eyes out then put my thoughts to this page. You’ve heard the news reports, and you can imagine.

Bullies aren’t really the problem. They are a symptom of the problem. The real problem is that we have a public school system taken over by the Liberal Progressive Movement. This movement teaches our children that God is dead, that science proves it, and that man is just one animal amongst many and that there is no purpose to life. A safe school is not one devoid of bullies. No, it is one in which students get mandatory instruction on the benefits of a homosexual lifestyle. Our ‘safe school czar’ appointed by the President, a man who ignored the abuse of his students, wrote the curriculum.

So we are all victims of this lie and so we deserve the world in which we live. The disintegration of the family, the poor grades our children get in school, the lack of performance in a competitive job market, the hopelessness, the sense of entitlement without the ambition for hard work are all related to the failure of the school system. Don’t look for help from a black president to improve upon this failure. Students in Washington DC, the worst school district in the country, occupied mostly by minority students, had a way out. That district, which tax payers pay more than double what they would per student at any other school, was still failing our kids. A successful voucher program allowed parents to remove their students and place them in successful private schools. But when President Obama came to office he immediately closed that program, forcing students to return to the same failed schools from which they came.

Why did he do this, you ask? He’s not really an African-American who cares about people of the same heritage. He’s a radical Marxist who bought the lie that radical socialism was the ultimate worldview, and so he condemns struggling families to abandon their children to a system that doesn’t care for them or fit their needs or meet their expectations.

Don’t blame Obama or the Progressives. Blame yourselves. You’ve abandoned your children to this Jungle and only you can get them out again. I appeal to your reason, act while you can. There is only one way to change things for the better. Parents must get involved in their childrens’ education. You must wrestle back control of the government schools and demand the dissolution of the Federal Department of Education. Control of the schools must return to the states, and the local school districts where parents, PTAs and school boards have direct control over the curriculum. Disband the political hydra of teachers unions and hire and fire teachers based on merit alone. The teachers who care and who can succeed pay them what they’re worth. The others: show them the door.

I don’t have children of my own, only nieces and nephews whom I care for a great deal. I do not wish to sit idly by and watch them suffer. How can you, who are parents, do so? For the good of your children and our future of our Country, take back the schools. The Progressives have had them for long enough. If you can’t gain back the schools, then start your own charter schools, where caring parents are the administrators and the teachers, and where the curriculum reflects your values, and you’re hopes for your children for a better life. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, the saying goes.

My sister is a teacher. She’s worked hard and has advanced degrees. She works hard and the grades of her students show it. Meanwhile she is forced to work with this dinosaur of a system and carry the weight of others not half as good as her, for the sake of the students trapped under driftwood. Teachers like her should be rewarded, while those who don’t should be made to find other work. The system of tenure doesn’t allow it.

This is the trial of our time. Our worldview is not invalid because we base it on religion. Theirs is a religion too, one with no god. The Bible says, the fool in his heart says there is no God. Our schools are the kingdom of fools.


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Jeremy Griffith

Jeremy Griffith is conservative blogger and retired officer of the United States Army Reserve. He writes for his own blog at

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