Daniele Kosanke | Educational Priorities After Tragedy

Letters to the Editor
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How many more school shootings is it going to take to reevaluate priorities in our educational system? It is, of course, commendable to focus on academic achievement, but doesn’t a well-rounded education entail more, much more? Shouldn’t we consider students’ well-being in general and mental health in particular?

A comprehensive educational system should at least strive to counteract the negative influences of a fast-changing society, in which confusion thrives and strong moral values have shifted considerably.

The breakdown of families and ubiquitous social media are destabilizing young people, who are, after all, the future of our nation.

All the young people who pulled the trigger have something in common: They have had trauma in their lives, suffering from mental illness, ranging from depression to suicidal tendencies. The complexity of mental illness should not prevent our educational system from stepping in and extending proactive help.

How long does it take for a young person to reach the breaking point of either despair or anger, before committing mayhem? Surely such behavior does not happen overnight without telltale signs. Early detection is an important key, followed by regular and sustained psychological support.

As a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, it was clear to me that any student who was emotionally unbalanced could not reach academic potential. The help available to such a student was scarce and inadequate, to say the least.

After the teacher’s request for help was filed, it would take months for any kind of action to take place. If the student was deemed eligible, he or she would receive psychological support only once a week!

Moreover, the majority of our students would benefit from the revival of strong moral values in our schools, with less emphasis on self but rather focusing on basic human decency, respect of other, as well as self-respect. A positive atmosphere of excellent citizenship should be implemented, encouraged and reaffirmed, motivating young people to help others and cooperate with each other in the home, at school and within the community.

To deplore school massacres is not enough. Families and schools are the perfect ground to grow balanced kids and responsible citizens, and well-balanced individuals. Let us work together to offer effective psychological support to those in need of it and avoid heartbreaking tragedies.

Daniele Kosanke

Castaic

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