By Steve Hunley

State Senator Stacey Campfield has proposed a bill cosponsored with State Representative Vance Dennis which would reduce by as much as thirty percent state assistance for those families who have a child in school who has failing grades.

Campfield claims his bill is based on a similar idea in Brazil, of all places.  Yet as I understand it, the legislation in Brazil actually increases benefits for families whose children do well in school, the inverse of what Campfield is proposing.

Nobody could rightly accuse me of being for a welfare state or increasing the size and scope of most programs that many consider to be “freebies.” Too many in this country today think the best tax is one he or she doesn’t pay, but derives a benefit from.

Still, the Campfield Bill makes no sense to me whatsoever.  To my mind, it is like executing the children of a convicted murderer.

Children don’t pick their parents.  Unfortunately, there are too many parents out there who milk the system and care little about their children and what kind of future their children will have.  Yet, there are also many parents who are working two jobs and doing all they can to maintain a roof over their heads and keep food on the table.  Reducing assistance (and a mother of two would receive $186 per month) for needy families because a child is not doing well in school is just plain mean.

It won’t fix the problem, won’t alter the culture, although it might make some mean spirited folks feel better about themselves.

This legislature has come up with some legislation this year that is just down right bizarre, but every so often along comes a bill that is downright cruel.  Picking on the most vulnerable elements of society takes no courage and those who would delight in twisting the tail of a puppy have no place in public life.

The legislature would do better to perhaps carve out some of the lottery money and build a fund to assist those families and children who need help and help their children do better in school.  Give these folks even more incentive to end the cycle of poverty and become productive taxpaying members of our society.

It’s hardly rocket science, but cruelty all too often begets cruelty.