In a recent letter to the editor, John Berkowitz of Saxtons River (July 11) was discussing the murder of the 12-year-old girl in Randolph and other acts of violence committed by men/boys. He leaves out the many acts of violence committed by women/girls but that is a subject for another day, I guess.
If I followed Mr. Berkowitz correctly, it appears he was suggesting the root of the problem was the lack of a strong male influence in the lives of those men/boys that committed the violent acts. I would possibly agree with that but disagree with his solution.
His solution was to get involved as a volunteer in various social service agencies such as Big Brothers and mentoring programs and while I laud the programs (I was a Big Brother before my own children were born) the solution starts much sooner than that.
By his own admission the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" is much overused but has been repeated so many times that some people actually believe it. It is my contention that we need a whole lot less village and a lot more parent, specifically the child’s father.
If Mr. Berkowitz really wants to work on the solution from it’s source, he should join me and other men in attempting to reform the Vermont Family Court.
Every single day in Vermont the majority of divorces are filed by women and every single day in the vast majority of child custody cases the mother is awarded custody and the father no longer has any legal say as what happens to his child. Vermont law states that joint custody can only occur if both parties agree to it and there is no advantage to that for the mother financially.
They are much better off having sole custody and forcing the father to pay child support. According to current guidelines, a noncustodial parent is only allowed $750 per month to support themselves and the rest can be taken for child support. A quick scan of the rental rates in this area will tell you that $750 won’t even pay your rent. The father is then often reduced to visitation with his own children and that is sometimes problematic depending on the mother’s mood. Could you please tell me how this is a healthy situation for anybody involved?
It is public knowledge among the lawyers, male and female, that practice or have practiced in the Vermont Family Court that the court is gender biased against men. No one disagrees. Many of the social problems in this state can be traced back to the inception of the Family Court in the 1980’s. Schools and teachers have been reduced to babysitting children with behavioral problems, doctors are heavily medicating the children, the children are heavily medicating themselves and the criminal courts have had quantum leaps in the number of juvenile cases. This court has knowingly and systematically separated children from their fathers and we all see the wreckage they have caused in children’s lives every day.