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Letter: Saving the World One Town at a Time

I was driving past the long line of buses on Andrew Street the other week as school let out when three students stepped out between the buses with no warning. I slammed on my brakes, and the kids continued on without even looking at me. I lowered my window and warned them, “You might be hit next time.”

My comment was met by two of the boys giving me the finger and the third barking “F___ You.” They chuckled and continued on. They looked 11, maybe 12.

It was at that moment I realized that, as an adult in this town, my taxes paying for their education, I could do absolutely nothing. Three seventh graders had the power. I had to suck it up.

Many folks have been very vocal about bullying in the Manhasset Press lately, and many have offered insight and suggestions to this issue, but I think it really boils down to the very basic concept of respect. It seems our new generation has decided it is an option, but not essential for success in today’s world.

Vandalism is on the rise. Petty property damage is on the rise. Last week a kid used a lighter and an aerosol can to set a locker on fire sending the middle school and high school students outside into the sub freezing temperatures. They actually got off easy; a janitor went to the hospital from smoke inhalation.

 Somewhere in the last decade this town has gotten lost. Many in our community blame “The Foreigners” who have moved to Manhasset for bringing down the quality of life in Manhasset, but I gotta tell you guys, their kids are the most respectful students we’ve seen in years. Yes, there remains a class hierarchy in our town, but having class is nothing our kids are pursuing today.

I’ve seen kids cuss out their parents on Main Street. I’ve seen packs of teenagers tear street signs out of the ground, concrete included, and toss them in poorly lit streets with the hope a motorist won’t see it until it’s too late to avoid.

Please, Thank you, I’m sorry and excuse me have been abandoned. We’ve seen this from our village up to the steps of the Capitol in Washington. Opposing views on talk shows have been replaced with who can yell the loudest.

It’s not too late to save the world, and we can start with our kids. Respect. It’s more than just a word. Next time your kid says “F___ You,” don’t lend him the Porsche that night. And anyone insulted by my letter, and wants to say, “That’s not my kid,” you need not write in about that. There’s no need to defend a good kid. If your child is not one of the new generation of entitlement and a sense of superiority, bully for you. But these offensives that walk through town as if they own it, they’re someone’s children.

Let’s make “Please and Thank You” fashionable again.

Don’t cost nuthin.

A naive but hopeful optimist

David Paterson