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posted: 6/12/2014 12:01 AM

In divorce, dads should get the kids

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Fathers need much more than a day of celebrating fatherhood in June. They need some major restructuring of the educational and legal system. They need, "change we can believe in." They need, for example, automatic custody of children in cases of divorce.

Father absence from the family contributes greatly to violence by children in schools, to carrying a gun and to assaulting both students and teachers. A study showed that 72 percent of adolescents charged with murder grew up without a father.

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The troubles fathers experience begin during their youth. Typically, they fail to do as well as girls in reading and writing. Girls earn better grades and enter college in greater numbers, approaching 60 percent.

Schools create a hostile environment for boys. Boys who score high on tests of femininity tend to do better than boys who score high on tests of masculinity. They drop out of school, enter a life of crime and even commit suicide at higher rates than do girls. Males outnumber females in prisons by a ratio of 14 to one.

Fathers and families need social institution to support the manly virtues, not hostility at every turn. Schools and related institutions need to recognize that masculinity is not simply a social construct. It reflects a biological reality than cannot be denied without severe social costs.

George Kocan

Warrenville

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