Everyone is outraged about a video that surfaced showing a busload of kids viciously abusing a bus monitor. (Note, this is a truly upsetting video, so please view with caution.)
Everyone is piling on the kids, and soon, the parents of those kids. And, yes, the kids are rotten and should face some kind of reckoning.
Scenes like this are, in fact, very common. It's only when someone happens to record video that everyone gets upset.
The core problem, in my opinion, is that we have industrialized education. As a result, we're placing children in cultural situations for which they have not been designed.
Humans are designed to live in small groups or villages with close-nit community members and family members of all ages. In nearly every human society since the beginning of time, say, a 12-year-old would rarely find himself or herself in a situation with a lot of other 12-year olds. Humans are designed to exist in groups of multiple ages. A young person would always be within the reach of grandparents, friends of the family, neighbors.
But in modern society, we've industrialized education. Public schools are factories for mass-producing workers.
By the time they are adults, children have spent the majority of their socializing time with groups of people primarily consisting of others their own age. The 12-year-olds in this video exist in a cultural context similar to Lord of the Flies -- devoid of non-12-year-olds.
As a result, a kind of social insanity has become normal. Like monkeys in a zoo (an unnatural environment), public school children live in a social context that their brains are not wired to understand or comprehend.
We understand that grown adults sent to govern our nation require "checks and balances" -- with each group watching the others. Why don't we think middle school students need them?
Many people will recall that decades ago, schools were similarly industrialized and routinized, but scenes like the one in the video below were unheard of.
The reason kids were "better behaved" in the past is that they lived always under the threat of the larger society of parents, older kids, grand parents, younger kids. What's changed is the amount of time that kids spend in their artificial peer group.
With social media and cell phones, kids are still psychologically "with" peers of their own age, even when in real life they're physically in the same room with people of other ages.
I don't know what the solution is. But it's not more punishment for the kids. Our educational system is fundamentally broken, and we're churning out more pathological douchebags than we are Rhodes Scholars and functional citizens.
That's what I think. What do you think?