Morals & Values 
By Alex Saitta 
December 26, 2004 
I spoke to a lot of different people during the campaign, teachers, parents, home schoolers, business owners, seniors, and people without children. One teacher said something that later hit me when I was looking over the statistics of the different South Carolina school districts. She said something like, you give me a child that knows right from wrong, and I will be able to teach that child a lot. Without that, even the teacher of the year won't have a lot of success.  
Pickens Is Moral: 
Her point was, one of the main reasons children in Pickens County do better than others in the state is  morals ó our children know right from wrong. Think about it, if a child knows talking out in class is wrong and he keeps quiet and pays attention, it will make it easier to teach him and hence he's more likely to learn. 
When you look at the statistics, they support her point. Pickens County is a moral place. The annual crime incidents reported per 10,000 population is 294.3 in Pickens County. That puts Pickens 42nd out of 46 counties in the state. Pickens County has the highest percentage (80%) of two parent families of children that are in school. Pregnancies among females 14 to 17 years old is only 1.8% in Pickens County, making it 43rd of 46 counties in the state.  
To me, morals relates to behavior like committing crime, drinking excessively, behaving in class, or driving too fast. In addition to morals, values also play an important role. Values or a personís hierarchy of values relates to his inner beliefs. Having values, is having beliefs that are conducive to success and happiness. For example, a person who values education is more likely to be a success in life than a person who values excessive drinking and partying. 
Why do children in Pickens have morals and values? The answer is simple. There is a church on every street corner, and churches stress moral behavior and important values. Just look at the 10 commandments. It is basically a moral code that says do this behavior, but donít do that one. 
Entertainment Industry: 
The biggest enemy of morals and values in this country is the entertainment industry. Just turn on your TV, and the typical sit-com is giving lessons in promiscuous sex, killing, four-letter words, and partying 24-7. All things, if you do them habitually in the real world, will land you at the bottom of the heap and unhappy. Additionally, the entertainment industry poo-poos admirable values, such as education, treating your spouse well, and respecting authority.  
Some say the government is also attacking morals and values. I'm not sure if it is on the "attack". For certain, the government has withdrawn from the morals and values arena.  This is a problem, because the government, via the public schools, is the biggest educator of our children in this country. In an effort to take religion out of schools, government has also thrown out the winning set of morals and values that are associated with religion.  
Even parents who are trying their utmost to instill morals and values in their children, are being overwhelmed by these factors. As a result, behavioral problems are on the rise, and our children value education less. As a result, it is becoming more difficult to educate our youth. I believe the 40 year decline of morals and values in this country is one of the main reasons we have fallen behind in terms of education relative to the rest of the world. 
No Place Immune: 
Sadly, I think we are starting to see the affects of the moral decline in Pickens schools. I believe the response is we need to be firm and hold the line on what is right and wrong. For example, one of our schools showed Apollo 13 to some sixth grade students. I saw the movie myself, and it was littered with the GD word, the S word and others.The initial response from the district was underwhelming. It wasn't until one of parents took them to task, did something get done about it. We now have a stricter policy on showing movies at school. 
I supported the parent 100%. If children used such vulgar language in class, they would be reprimanded. To have those words in a lesson, was wrong. We need to consistently be on the right side of such moral issue, because we are teaching children and what we teach them will determine how they act as adults. All I know, if a person talked that way on a job interview or to a customer, they'd be fire. One of our primary goals is to prepare students for careers. 
I'm a strong defender of traditional morals and values, because they are conducive to success and happiness. All the proof I need is they served this country well its first 190 years, and the anything goes morals and values system of the last 40 years is harming our children. 
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