Today my 8th-grade, 14-year-old daughter presented me with a permission slip to attend a teaching segment on the “Seven Deadly Sins.” As stated in the permission slip, juveniles who are at least 13 years old in Georgia “must be prosecuted as adults if they are charged with one of the Seven Deadly Sins.”
The permission slip further contends the Georgia Department of Education believes it is vital for our children to understand the justice system and consequently the circumstances which may result in them being treated as adults. In this very same paragraph, it is stated it is now “required” for all 8th-grade social studies teachers to therefore cover this curriculum as part of performance standards as it will subsequently be covered on the 8th-grade CRCT.
As a mother of four children, three of which I might add all attend the same Fayette County Middle School (one is in 6th grade, one in 7th grade and of course the last in 8th grade), I nearly lost my coffee in a wave a nausea when I read the portion of the permission slip referencing yet another standardized test and the reference of bureaucratic performance standards.
This is heartbreaking stuff, people. We are talking about a day and age where as a society of people we have evolved (apparently) for the need to charge children as adults for committing heinous, indescribable crimes. As if the world weren’t scary enough with all the adults out there committing thousands of grotesque crimes, now we live in a time where babies are out there doing it too.
This letter is not about whether charging a 13-year-old as an adult is the right or wrong thing to do. I’ll save this debate for my prayers. The purpose of this letter is to address that my daughter is 14 years old and she should have been made aware of the “Seven Deadly Sins” when she was 12 years old, previous to her turning 13 years old IF it is the intent of the Georgia Department of Education to include this information on required proficiency mandates.
She should NOT be learning about this as an 8th-grade student, a year after 13 years old and definitely not for the SOLE purpose of glazing the state’s required CRCT or to make all of us that live in Fayette County less uncomfortable about falling home values.
The permission slip made this sound like this was due to “recent news stories” when the TRUTH is this became law in 1994, when the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 440 (SB 440) which gives the superior/adult court exclusive jurisdiction over youth ages 13 through 17 years old who are arrested for one of seven violent offenses, otherwise known as the “Seven Deadly Sins.”
As a mom, personally, and, most importantly spiritually, I don’t want my kids learning about the “Seven Deadly Sins” at all, truthfully. What mother or father wants their son or daughter learning about aggravated sodomy, for Pete’s sake, or child molestation, rape or sexually battery in grave detail and at such young and formidable years? No one! However, given our lawmakers and politicians, given society, and — lest we forget — standardized testing and performance standards, there isn’t a choice. I wish it was different.
I challenge Fayette County’s new Superintendent Dr. Bearden and our state’s new governor to take a more proactive approach and reconsider continuing to teach this class to 8th-grade students only. On a whole, 8th-grade students are older than 13 years old.
This is like dispensing birth control pills to a pregnant woman. It’s just a little too late and reactive to a purpose you deem “important.” If our school district really cares about our children, and the so-called “circumstances” of the justice system that directly impacts them, they will teach this course when the state of Georgia has the right to levy the applicable consequences upon them … not a year or more later.
Maybe some parents will be unhappy/uncomfortable to send their 6th- and 7th-grade sons and daughters to a class like this. I know I would be, just like I am now for my 8th-grade daughter, but this isn’t about me being comfortable, or about other parents being comfortable, or about CRCT test scores or performance standards.
This is about the law, and, sadly, children’s rights, given how Senate Bill 440 directly impacts every child in the state of Georgia between 13 and 17 years old.
Peachtree City, Ga.