Five suicides in area high schools in last 16 months. More shooting deaths in Atlantic City and Pleasantville. Time to look beyond “personal” and “family” problems?

On October 19th a ?15 year old Ocean City High School sophomore from Seaville (Parkway Exit 25) ?became the ?fifth area high school suicide in the past 16 months.?? During this?time, many other?young people in this area died from shootings, drug overdoses, and reckless driving.

Friends, relatives, and educator blame these deaths on various personal and family problems of the suicide victims along with bullying.???But are many of those personal and family problems–and the bullying–caused by something bigger?????Is?the gradual loss of?liberty and prosperity in America during the past 50 years part of this problem?

Many of the young people who died–and the bullies–?spent very little time with their parents.?????? Many children today are raised in homes with one parent.??? Others are raised in homes where both parents work more than one job to make ends meet.

Fifty years ago, most parents were married, and one parent working could support most families.?? Most families ate one or two meals together as a family each day.?? What changed???? Do government programs and a ?progressive? pop culture encourage and enable single parent households today????? Do high taxes, insurance, and housing costs force both parents to work at least one job and often two to make ends meet?

Many young people today are raised in homes where their parents are constantly frustrated and angry. Much of that frustration anger is directed at their children, and many?of these parents?use drugs and alcohol to escape. Is any of this caused by?lack of?good jobs with prospects for advancement???? Are parents who believe they are failures, now raising children who expect that same failure in their own lives?

Some of the suicide victims?had few friends and were often bullied at school.?? But doesn’t that raise other questions??? Are there more bullies today than in the past???Are they more dangerous or violent??? If so, why???? Is today’s bullying problem also caused by the 50 year decline of liberty and prosperity in America?

As to friends, didn’t?some of America’s greatest achievers also have few friends.?? Why did these young people without friends turn to suicide rather than?pursue other interests?

Is there something?in our public schools today that is?creating more victims–and more bullies????? Do students? feel their time in class or other school activities?is meaningful and well spent?? Is school inspiring them??? Is it encouraging them to pursue dreams and teaching them skills and other information to?help them succeed???? Or do?schools teach little more than how to take the standardized tests needed to get diplomas and college scholarships.???Are students offered little more than a chance to repeat the process at college for another four years and end up with?nothing more than?another useless diploma– and a mortgaged sized student loan debt?

Are schools teaching students the greatness of America???? Are students learning?how for roughly 400 years,?America was?a?”land of boundless opportunity” that brought more wealth, opportunity, and justice to more people than any nation in history????Or are they being taught that America was?a violent, racist, and corrupt country that and that the system?is rigged against them??? Are todays students taught to identify with America’s achievers?? Or its “victims”.

Do schools encourage students to pursue the truth and by openly sharing their honest opinions on what is?most important to them????Or are they conditioned not to say anything offensive to the politically correct doctrine of the day??? Is this why?too?many students share their most important thoughts in?only in?anonymous, ?internet chat rooms?

Do students today feel pressured to learn skills and information they will never use again after they take the standardized tests??? Do they feel pressured to succeed in sports they have no interest in–just to get a scholarship?

The Ocean City School District Student Services Department and members of the Traumatic Loss Coalition will host the first in a series of panel discussion on this issue next Tuesday, November 3 at 6pm in the Ocean City High School media center. The panel will focus on topics like student referral services, mental health, and drug/alcohol awareness. For more information, contact the Ocean City High School Student Services Department at 609-814-8753.

The Ocean City Board of Education is also putting together an ad-hoc committee of board members, administrators, staff, parents, community members, law enforcement agencies and public agencies. The goal of the committee is to ensure consistency, collaboration, and communication regarding teen mental health and wellness.?? Anyone interested in serving on the committee should contact Scotty Keiluhn, secretary to Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor at 609-399-5150 or mkeiluhn@ocsdnj.org.

This action is helpful and much needed.?? But should we not also look at the big picture?? Should we not also look for answers to some of the questions raised in this post?

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