Admittedly, I am a fossil. I went to elementary school in the mid-1940s. It was a time when we walked a couple of miles to school in the morning, home for lunch, and then back to school in the afternoon. You knew your neighbors and they knew you. If you misbehaved, going to, coming from or in school, your parents found out about it immediately, and you were disciplined.

Times have changed. However, free public education is a privilege. If a child – for whatever reason – is a disruptive influence and is preventing other children from learning, and/or is a threat to the teacher, an alternative educational venue should be provided for that child until he or she is ready to positively participate.

Hopefully, in the case of the 6-year-old in Virginia who shot a teacher, his parent will be punished to the full extent of the law for endangering that child, his classmates and his teacher by not securing the handgun.

Douglas Robb

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