The Union Recorder


April 21, 2012

Act in the best interest of Salecia Johnson

MILLEDGEVILLE — As a parent, as a grandparent raising a child; I feel an urgent need to address this latest issue now placing Milledgeville in the national spotlight again — an important issue — and my interest is, indeed, the best interest of the child: 6-year-old first grader Salecia Johnson.

The greatest disservice big media is doing against Salecia, her family, the school and law officers is to minimize and trivialize the situation by referring to the events of that day as a “temper tantrum.” By doing that disservice, they are making the school and the law as over-reactors to a simple “child’s tantrum.” That is NOT what this episode was.

The best interest of the child is to realize this was a dangerous display of uncontrolled anger/rage. The age of the child, the race, gender, social rank, ethnicity of the child/person is not the issue. In the best interest of the child, what is important is that this uncontrollable anger and rage presented itself quite publicly at such a young age, and that the child needs help now to deal with this so that being handcuffed and taken to jail won’t become a sad pattern in her future.

Honestly consider the intensity of this so-called (but sadly misnamed) “temper tantrum.” Now imagine this intensity from a 6-year-old first grader left unchecked and unaddressed and transfer it in the same school setting to a teenage eighth or ninth grader with a knife, a gun or other weapon.

When those scenarios have come up disastrously in the last decade or more, everyone wants to know why didn’t the parents, the school, society see the signs, do something or get the child some help.

Well, here we have the opportunity. People can hide their heads in the sand, hide the child’s problem behind the race card, the big bad school card, the big bad law card or any other denial/attention/sympathy/headline card they wish, but those who truly love this child will love her enough to get her the help she needs to make this Salecia’s one and only experience in handcuffs, her only public episode of uncontrolled rage (and/or attention getting). Any other action or approach is not in the best interest of the child.

I truly hope someone loves Salecia enough to take the responsibility to teach her responsibility for her own actions and to help her be able to deal with the emotions and cores that activate those actions. We are progressively and increasingly a nation of irresponsible people. Little Salecia has a wonderful future of opportunity here — well, if folks play their cards right. I just hope the cards are dealt in Salecia’s favor and in the best interest of the child.

Lonnie Ray Fowler


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