Just when you think the news about the state of America's public schools couldn't get worse, it does.
On Wednesday, a 14 year-old boy in Tennessee shot and killed his bus driver because she reported him for chewing tobacco on the bus. Reports of high school stabbings and shootings are so commonplace these days that most don't even make it into the national news. Schools have scrambled to keep up by installing security cameras and metal detectors, but evidently these have not been effective in stemming the flow of weapons, drugs and alcohol to public schools. The New York Times reports that several school districts across the country are using breath-alcohol tests on high school students, as underage drinking both in and out of school has become the norm.
President Bush's main solution to school violence has been to install more guards at dangerous school entrances. A report produced in February by the Democratic members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce takes Bush's proposed FY 2006 budget to task for eliminating all funding for the Safe and Drug Free Schools program, which was designed to combat violence and underage drug use. The budget also freezes funding for the main federal afterschool program, effectively preventing 1.7 million children from taking part.