As the Virginia House Select Committee on School Safety gathers together to respond to recent acts of school violence, particularly ones perpetrated by students themselves, it allows an opportunity to reflect upon the causes of youth violence, and teenage behavioral issues in general. Although the Committee is a commendable attempt to increase safety in schools, it fails to address the root cause of these problems: the poisonous ideas permeating the school system.

Our public school system has instituted a violent separation between schools and God, religion, and morality. The absence of religion in schools was intended to create a neutral sphere for students. Neutrality, however, is an impossible endeavor, especially in an educational environment. As a result, our school system is just as value-laden as ever before. The only difference is that traditional Judeo-Christian values and ideas have been replaced with secular ones, whether explicitly taught or implicitly accepted.

We corrupt our children’s minds at an early age with these toxic ideas and yet we’re surprised when the ideas reach their logical conclusion. We teach our kids, for example, that man is nothing but an evolved ape, yet we’re surprised when they fail to treat human life as if it possesses intrinsic sanctity and dignity. We teach our children that there is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life, yet we’re surprised when they experience despair and depression. Perhaps most mystifying of all, we’re surprised when individuals behave as if objective, unchanging, universal morals don't exist when we teach that objective, unchanging, universal morals don't exist. Gee, I wonder if there could possibly be some kind of correlation.

In truth, the only thing that should surprise us is the fact that we are continually surprised. Ideas do not exist in a vacuum; they have consequences. Good ideas have good consequences and harmful ideas have harmful consequences. Consequently, these pernicious ideas currently pervading the school system may be harmless as theory but they are horrifying in practice.

So yes, implement any reasonable measure that strengthens school security and the protection of children. Add security guards, security cameras, and metal detectors if you want to mitigate the effects of the problem, but let’s not pretend that these will solve it. In addition to these measures, reducing youth violence and misbehavior would require drastic changes that our society is currently unwilling to make, such as allowing prayer in schools. Until it does, don’t expect violence in our schools to disappear.

By James Rossi

James is a 2018 Summer Policy Intern at The Family Foundation and a student at Christendom College.