The Parkland Mass Shooting: A Consequence of Our Failures as Adults
Imagine a situation whereby every kid in this country goes to school in the morning not knowing if this will be their last day alive. This year alone, there have been six shootings across schools in the United States. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group, there have been 290 school shootings in the United States since 2013. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland shootings have brought to forefront the degradation of schools and it’s symptoms. There are several questions begging to be answered.
Beyond the terrorist or psychological imbalances displayed by these shooters, these shootings are a symptom of our failures as adults to understand the needs of these high school students. Firstly, an average American high school student is overworked every school day in school and at home. The National Education Association stipulates 10 minutes of work per grade level work every night. However, this guideline is often doubled or even tripled at the average American school. Despite being a center for knowledge, many school systems fail to understand the negatives of overloading a student.
William Crain Ph.D., a professor of psychology notes that kids are prone to developing school related headaches, stomachaches, sleep problems and depression. This is the outcome of being overworked and stressed every day. Crain’s claim was further corroborated by Harris Cooper, Ph.D., another professor of psychology, who is of the opinion that excessive school and homework deprive high school students of active playtime that is essential for the development of social skills.
We need to adopt a proactive approach towards solving the issues of school shootings by actively engaging students. As teachers, school administrators and parents, we need to listen more to these kids rather than shutting or shouting them down. I could tell you many, many stories of students being assigned in-school-suspension without reasoning, discussion or sometimes clear reasoning.
In prior years, dance, music and arts was a way for students to use their voice in school. However, due to funding reasons, the creative is being exempted in high schools all over the United States as students are left with only STEM work. United States high school students are stressed out and they are without the right channels to express themselves. What we have currently are frustrated, confused, stressed and unhappy students who also have to live with stressed up parents who are constantly in a race to pay bills on a daily basis.
Holistically, parents have to engage their children honestly and authentically. Their needs are beyond just materials, they need adult to talk to both inside and outside the classroom settings. In the classroom settings, educators need to step up and be there for their kids mentally and psychologically.
To all my “kids” everywhere, I’m always here to chat and grab an ice cream.