Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, August 15- When one of the priests at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Wakefield stepped outside the Rectory to see what all the fuss was about, he was pelted with stones. The vagrants hid behind cars, the wall and the lone tree on the block. These were the same four children, ages eight to 14, who had tried to enter the closed school adjacent to the Rectory.
Each stone came with a snort and a round of laughter. When told to desist, the laughter morphed into foul language.
Eventually, they left but not satisfied with the mayhem they had caused at St. Frances, they went to St. Anthony Church on Richardson Avenue and pelted whoever entered or left that Rectory with the same glee and vile language in which they seemed to glory.
So sure and so pleased with themselves they persisted in their outrageous behavior until the police caught two of them both aged 14. (It is unknown whether the other two were also finally caught.)
We tell you this because these are our children. We call them vagrants because they are disorderly, not because they have no homes. They live in our community. They go to our schools but that is probably where the problem begins.
We read that our schools are concerned about Math and English scores. It seems we are lagging behind the world in what our children learn, so their days in school are spent in learning how to read better and add better. Apparently there is no time left to teach morals and civic duty which should be the first line of education because without them civilization dies.
While we do not expect our teachers to teach that there is a God who sees in the dark and judges mankind whether young or old, we do expect them to teach that some things are right and some wrong. Let them define the difference between good and evil and the math and reading scores will rise to the level of a child's capacity.
Without such instruction our four vagrants will move on to vandalism and eventually graduate to criminality!
A child is born into civilization, but not born civilized. The child must be trained from the outset. In Switzerland, one does not see any litter in the streets, not a gum wrapper or a cigarette butt. Children are trained early. It is true there are penalties for littering, but they are hardly necessary. One notes that the Swiss have a very low rate of crime.
What a difference in the greatest city in the world. Oh, yes, we have everything one could want except, it seems civility. Our streets are littered with our detritus: the plastic cups and dishes, the wrappings from some item, the half-eaten apple and, oh, yes, the paper receipts from the munimeters. If caught, there are fines, of course, which means that each time we litter we are laughing at the law.
We point out that Wakefield has more churches than Rome, but of the nine sectors in the 47th Precinct, it is the second highest in crime. There is a disconnect here which we will address at some future time, but not before we point out that those four vagrants throwing tones haven't the foggiest notion of right and wrong.