January 30, 2005
It has been five weeks since a young lad committed suicide with a handgun in the commons area of the local high school. The incident made the front page of the local newspaper and was the top story for several days running on local news channels. It wasn’t long before recriminations were flying fast and furious, many accusing the local media of overstepping the bounds of ethics in their reporting of the incident. The local school district superintendent wrote, “… media were irresponsible ― the line was crossed. Shame on you.” This in reference to the reporting of the name of the suicide victim and material from the victim’s website including a picture.
Yet on the very public school district website, this same school district superintendent engaged in what can only be termed the melodramatic, going into great detail about the aftermath of the actual incident, lock down procedures, securing the scene, shielding students from the scene, a dramatic description of the potential danger to those who “ignored their own safety” in the giving of first aid to the victim, and a detailed description of what was discovered in a backpack found near the scene of the suicide ― all information that served no relevant purpose other than to dramatize. The superintendent’s letter was also sent to every parent with a child at the high school. And the superintendent thinks the media stepped over the line? As if the incident itself were not tragic enough, the superintendent had no qualms about dramatizing the incident and further broadcasting his sensationalism through the whole of the already shocked and saddened community just as did the news media. Rather like the pot calling the kettle black.
However, in all of the back and forth since, not one word has been published concerning why this young lad took his life. In a journal he published on his website, he wrote, “As tragic as it is, I have very little to live for. But as long as I have nothing to die for, I’m okay.” He wrote that he felt guilty about wanting to kill himself and made reference to wanting to go to church.
In the next few days the district is sponsoring a “community meeting” to receive “input” from the community on how to make the schools safer. The invite contains all the usual buzz words for the facilitated meeting in which the outcomes are predetermined and the purpose of the meeting is to
I can predict at least two of the predetermined outcomes:
And will all of this have the desired affect? Yes, but the affect isn’t what people would suppose: curing the problem. The affect will be more government intrusion into the home and family. Recently, the Presidents New Freedom Commission on Mental Health issued a report on mental health, establishing goals and recommendations for mental health. Goal 2 of that particular report recommends:
“Strengthen early childhood mental health interventions: Implement a national effort to focus on mental health needs of young children and their families that includes screening, assessment, intervention, training, financing of services.”
The “recommendations” of the report are being implemented in the states right now via federal block grants. To see where your state is in this process, click here. All of this, of course, is the next step in achieving Goal 1 of Goals 2000: readiness to learn. And the groundwork for implementing the above recommendations was laid in school districts across the nation via the federal Readiness to Learn Grants to states and school districts in the 1990’s.
Is any of this going to help or cure the problems facing our society today concerning guns and violence in schools? No, it won’t. The only thing that is going to cure the problem is to get rid of psycho-education (aka, systems education, progressive education, outcome-based education) in which the goal is not to discipline the mind of the child such that the child has a vast knowledge base on which to draw in articulating a reasoned conclusion as an individual, but rather to use the classroom to alter the child’s belief system such that he/she will accommodate the “created future” as “no deity will save us, we must save ourselves” — the “world class worker” (as in “workers of the world, unite”) of tomorrow.
Goals 2000; Public Law 103-227; 103rd Congress; March 31, 1994.
Humanist Manifesto II; 1973.
Laszlo, Ervin; A Strategy For The Future; The Systems Approach To World Order; New York: George Braziller; 1974.
Report of the Presidents New Freedom Commission on Mental Health; United States Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.
© 2005 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved