I cannot express my disappointment when I read that the School Board had voted to place a teen clinic at Two Trees behind the high school.
The article in the Saturday paper stated that the comments made at the School Board meeting were evenly split between the two sides but it failed to mention that the majority of people who spoke for the clinic were the people who worked there or with other publicly funded programs in the community. I only remember two parents who spoke in favor of this clinic being placed on district grounds. Almost all of the people who spoke against it were parents of high school teens or soon to be.
There was also a lot of weight put on the fact that the teenagers want this and a couple of teenagers even spoke at the meeting. I know for a fact that many of the students would love beer on tap in the cafeteria, they would also like many other products and services on school grounds that are not beneficial for their futures.
I believe we have a wonderful teaching staff at all levels of our county school system and most of the teachers realize that the majority of parents love and want to be involved in their children’s lives but have limited resources and time.
Recently, though, I have noticed a growing attitude in the middle school and up that all parents are uneducated and don’t really know what is best for their children. It keeps coming up that we need all these services and interventions because we have a large population of non-functioning families and all families tend to be lumped together, with the involved parents occasionally being singled out as the “exception.” I believe this attitude needs to change.
I have a few suggestions for reducing teen sexual activity and along with it depression and drug use:
When our sixth grades were taken away from Mary Peacock and Pine Grove elementary schools, it was done “because of the budget” and was slipped in under the radar because it was well known the parents did not want this. Now we have 200-plus sixth-graders lumped together with very limited resources when, if they were spread out among the different schools, the teachers and staff could have a better connection with these young people.
If we really care about these children from non-supportive or abusive homes then you would want them with their “school families” as long as possible, not thrown in with a mass of other kids with problems just as puberty is starting!
I would love to see K-8 at many of the schools. You would then have more parental involvement — if you know your child will be at a school for possibly nine years you will invest in that school. It makes no sense to move children every few years, they have no sense of connection.
Also if we had a curriculum that was infused with character-building traits such as self-control, putting others first, self respect, respect for others, saying no, not taking the easy way and working hard to be happy in the long run, and not looking for immediate gratification. This should be a constant message, not just occasionally. I am talking math word problems, language arts reading stories, history lessons, etc.
There are so many ways to begin breaking this cycle of neglect from these homes, but putting a band-aid on this huge wound is not going to solve the problem, only give the illusion of making it a little better for now.
Give all students guidance counseling when they are in sixth grade and meet with them regularly to keep them on track all the way through 12th grade. We know if kids have goals they do better in everything. We need more school counselors! Two at the high school is not enough! Money is tight but I think this is important and money won’t always be so tight so this should be a priority.
If this problem is so great, and obviously the School Board thinks it is, then we need to raise this generation of children with a few more morals so they can raise the next generation, or we are all in big trouble!