Recently while reading a facebook post on a page that is dedicated to parents in my home school district, I read something that just completely horrified. It horrified me on so many levels! The post was about a young student, a middle school student that had tried committing suicide during school hours. The post was by one parent & the horror she felt over this incident. This parent’s horror was not sympathy for this poor young soul, this horror was about things that made me stop & ask myself if I was not living on a foreign planet. When did we stop being compassionate? The replies that ensued only horrified me even more. The more I read, the more upset I got! I just could not believe what I was reading. Parents commenting on what they were so upset about. They blamed this poor child’s parents for what happened, a child they did not even know. How they felt the school district was responsible. That the teachers must be held responsible after all b/c this child would not have done this at the school if the school was not somehow at fault. The more I read, the angrier I got, the more I read, the more I felt like, am I crazy? I must be missing something? Why isn’t anyone as upset as I am? No one seems to be bothered by all this? No one is writing back to all these comments…I finally read the page to my husband who was, thankfully, as horrified as I was! Ok, reality, I was not living in another land, I was not crazy, he was as upset as I was! I then sat down to compose my answer. By the time I returned to the page, the commentary had turned from this poor unfortunate child’s suicide attempt to drug use & drinking in the schools. It has now resorted to referring to these children as “degenerates”! “What”??? By this point my blood was boiling & you guessed it, no one said a thing!! Back to writing a response! It took me a bit to write a response, a well thought out response that did not reflect my anger, but my sadness that as parents of children how careful we need to be in not resorting to judging other children & calling them names. While I understand a parent’s fear when you hear that drugs are appearing in your children’s schools, I understand the fear when you hear that a young child, a child who is the same age as your child is so depressed that he/she feels that they have no other options but to end their lives…but I must ask you to now walk in that child’s parents shoes, imagine what it must have felt like to get that phone call, to have to run to the hospital, to hear about what is happening in your precious child’s life! I wrote to these parents asking them to think about their own children, asking them how they would feel if it was their child who was struggling with depression or drug abuse & someone who does not even know them referred to them as a degenerates, how would it feel? Not so nice I bet now would it? We are our children’s role models, we are their first teacher’s, we lead by example. We should not judge these children, we do not know what their struggles are. While I understand the fear, I understand & respect that you do not like these children’s choices, you don’t have to! But, you do need to teach your child tolerance, love & respect! If we all did that, we would have so many kids feeling less stress, less depression & perhaps more children would feel that they had other options, they might not choose drugs, they might choose options to stay alive rather than choose suicide b/c they would know that they had people who loved & respected them! My response got lots of commentary, it is what I expected, but it was not the commentary I expected, I expected to get lots of negativity, but most people said, “Thank You!” It was a small thing, but you need to speak up, speak up even if you know what you have to say might not be popular….see something, say something! You just never know, you might be surprised like I was!
Offering Choice in the Planning Process - As in all aspects of writing workshop, students should have choice in their planning process.
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