Prior to Wednesday night’s game, USC men’s coach Frank Martin addressed the crowd at Colonial Life Arena, asking for a moment of silence for the victims and families affected in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
Martin joined a growing number of college basketball coaches speaking out against gun-related crimes. Martin took his message one step further by connecting such issues of violence to the breakdown in the country’s educational system.
A former school teacher, Martin expanded on his beliefs following USC’s 63-59 victory:
“Some people speak on education and they have no idea because they’ve never been in grassroots education. Politics have gotten into grassroots education and that’s the problem.
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“People worry about test scores rather than educating human beings, kids that are going to be the people of tomorrow. And as long as we’re worried about test scores rather than discipline, respect, authority, listening, all the words that give us a chance to move forward in life, we’re just wasting our time.
“As a person who has been there, as a person who has benefitted from learning those values in that public school system when I was a young kid, (I) had people hold me accountable, make me respect school buildings.
“I hope leaders – whether it be political leaders, people like myself, whatever – understand that the problem here is not guns. The problem is our values in our educational system. That’s got to get fixed and I hope we address that and do it the right way.”