2008-08-28 / Letters to the Editor

Parents should hold kids responsible

I would like to share my thoughts about the question posed in the Aug. 14 edition of the Press, "What has happened to the days when the police brought home your child and the parent's had the first crack?" Let me preface my thoughts with the fact that I am a Jamestown parent, as well as a high school teacher.

Those days are gone due to the fact that most parents don't crack down on their child after being brought home by the police. A lot of today's parents take the word of their child over the authorities. (And society wonders why so many kids are disrespectful today.) Most parents today also make excuses for their child's actions, instead of making them take responsibility. What values are we teaching our children by doing this?

Due to the lack of parents taking on the role of being a parent, wanting to be their child's friend, it has forced other people to take on this role. I agree that parents should hold their child accountable for their actions.

What happened to the days when parents took the word of an adult over a child? It is too bad that today, some parents feel like they have to be "liked" by their child and won't discipline their child for fear of them hating them.

Everyone thinks their child is a good kid and they might be. Every kid does deserve a second chance to prove themselves. It is common knowledge that all kids make mistakes. We hope that they learn from them, but to ask the authorities not to criminalize what happened at the beach is wrong. These adolescents were on the job, they have shown no remorse and need to understand that there are consequences for their actions.

As for the lifeguards that were fired, they were responsible for the safety and well being of friends, family and neighbors alike. Choosing to become a lifeguard brings many benefits and responsibilities. Part of their job is to enforce facility rules and regulations and educate patrons about them — not break the rule themselves.

Along with basic professional responsibilities, they should have also considered their personal responsibilities, such as keeping their body in top condition - not being under the influence of alcohol. They were on the job (on the taxpayer's dollar) and that is why the police needed to step in on this matter. Lifeguards are under the supervision of the head lifeguard, their supervisor and the recreation director. They should not have to be constantly monitored by their supervisor. Though I have to say I have spent most of my summer days at the Mackerel Cove with my children. There were more than several occasions that I saw either the program supervisor and/or the recreation director stop by while I was there, both before and since this incident.

I applaud Representative Bruce Long along with several chiefs of police from around Rhode Island and the Substance Abuse Task Force coordinator Laura Hosley for introducing legislation that would make internal possession of alcohol a crime and trying to close up the loopholes in the law. I commend the parents who do lay down the laws for their children. Believe it or not, most children want that - it makes them realize that their parents actually care about them and what they do.

Penny Bush


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