My young friend in her second year of teaching first grade faces behavior problems at a migraine level. One morning a black student grabbed a handful of crayons and threw them at the other children at his table. She sent the offender to timeout (that ineffective disciplinary tool developed by Democrats who have never had children) just as his mother appeared in the doorway of the classroom. The mother, without first asking what had happened, exclaimed, "Racist!," removed her child and lodged a complaint of prejudice with the school principal.

The students are bad, but the parents are worse.The young crayon tosser is a victim of the protective parent. Where were these gullible parents when I was growing up? I had parents who believed that children were guilty until proven innocent. Their disregard of due process kept me on the straight and narrow.

My parents' theory on my involvement in trouble was a great deal like the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." If they could tie me to the culprit by just the same birth hospital, they were ready with corporeal punishment. My side of the story was not relevant. I once accepted blame for the school's collapsed roof because I had been praying for a snow day.

My husband and I are giving our children the gift of assumed guilt. When the principal called last month to report that my son had been bitten by another student, my husband asked, "And what did he do to make the other kid bite him?" The principal seemed stunned. He was calling to see if we had retained our personal injury lawyer.

Protective parents object to sanctions even when their children are caught with guns on campus. Protective parents threaten litigation over grades, suspensions and cafeteria food fights. Protective parents raise angelic children who are victims of a system gone awry.

Two protective parents currently in the spotlight are Marcia Lewis and Dr. Bernard Lewinsky - parents of sweet Monica. Were I in Monica's shoes, my parents would review the situation and calmly explain, "For your affidavit to be true, at least three other people, your own voice on tape, and your chatty e-mail would have to be lying. Get in there and beg for mercy from Mr. Ken Starr or your inheritance will consist of used Ginzu knives."

The ever-protective Lewinsky and Lewis are maligning everyone from Linda Tripp to federal prosecutors. Lewinsky, in an interview with Barbara Walters, mindless sycophant to stars and other feebs, cried, "To pit a mother against her daughter, to coerce her to talk - to me it's reminiscent of the McCarthy era, of the Inquisition, and even, you know you could stretch it and say the Hitler era." Protective parents have the reality grasp of Luke Skywalker and are masters of the overstatement. Six million Jews killed is comparable to two subpoenas?

Lewis is fainting hither and yon and whining through her lawyers about her grand jury grilling. Monica's attorney/ham, William Ginsburg, reports that his client is angry about the treatment of her mother. Starr is surely shaking at the thought of this ditzy Beverly Hills brat holding a lip gloss brush to his throat to protect the mother who said to federal agents, "What's the big deal? So she lied and tried to convince someone else to lie." Protective parents exhale arrogance.

Lewinsky told Walters that he has known about Monica's past affairs, including a five-year fling with a married teacher, but still supports and loves her. Cutting off Monica's beret funds back then could have saved all of them from their current predicament and spared us from their annoying fussing about being caught in a game of hardball that inevitably descends upon the children of protective parents.

The ever-protective parent raises an ever-in-trouble child. And the protective parent never sees the cause and effect - that their constant intervention will bring them to a showdown with the criminal justice system. Perjury and conspiracies are not pretty nor petty crimes. Starr's inquiry is about subornation of perjury and the resulting corruption of the judicial system. Lies under oath do facilitate the horrors of a Hitler.

To a protective parent the issue is not right vs. wrong. The issue is the big bully system. That the system is simply administering consequences and accountability escapes these clueless parents. Protective parents see their child throw crayons but divert punishment by blaming and maligning everyone but themselves and the child who will continue on a path of self-destruction always cushioned from sanctions.

The child's eventual punishment, as all the Lewinskys now realize, is a miserable life. And there, but for the grace and wisdom of two parents who ignored due process, would I be. Presumed guilt and swift punishment - not a bad formula for raising responsible children.