For days now I’ve read about how guns are the key. Getting rid of them or getting more of them–either choice is supposed to stop these violent massacres. Never mind the number of accidental gun deaths.* Never mind the people who don’t have guns so they use their trucks or cars or bodies as bombs. If you’re gonna kill, you’ve crossed a mental line. “How” is the least of your concerns.
Nobody is talking about why our kids–let’s be honest, it’s mostly our boys, and I’ll get to that–are getting to the point where they’ve crossed that mental line and said “I will find a way to end multiple lives, including my own.”
Nobody talks about how many times those boys think that they are actually SETTING THE VICTIMS FREE.
Why do you think these shootings keep happening in schools?
When No Child Left Behind passed in 2002, schools irrevocably changed culture. They now became much more tied to one type of testing, with success and subsequent money measured by the success of the testing.
One of the major pieces of NCLB is the “Our Way Or The Highway” classroom provision:
The act requires schools to rely on scientifically based research for programs and teaching methods. The act defines this as “research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.” Scientifically based research results in “replicable and applicable findings” from research that used appropriate methods to generate persuasive, empirical conclusions.
Non-scientific methods include following tradition, personal preferences, and non-scientific research, such as research based on case studies, ethnographies, personal interviews, discourse analysis, grounded theory, action research, and other forms of qualitative research. These are generally not an acceptable basis for making decisions about teaching children under the act.
I’ll boil it down for you; for decades teachers have known that different kids require different types of classroom environments and teaching methods. Many times those children, most often boys, have behavior types that don’t integrate into the current classroom setting. These boys would have done very well in the Blab Schools of the past, where the lessons involved speaking loudly and regularly. They often do well now in Montessori situations. But the type of classroom that the government mandates in NCLB doesn’t work for some personalities.
That’s okay. For that we have Ritalin! And for the side-effects of Ritalin we have Prozac. Your boy doesn’t do well in school because he is A LITTLE BOY and he’s active and physically inquisitive. But that doesn’t work because we don’t have enough time for three recesses a day and two PE classes a week because we have to make sure everyone passes the NCLB-mandated tests. So the teacher tells you that your boy “may have” a disorder. And it’s on YOU to make sure that your LITTLE BOY–who is acting like a healthy, active, physically inquisitive little boy–gets the expensive tests and the expensive drugs that will keep him quiet and keep him from being a nuisance to everyone else in the class.
Yes, there are people with genuine attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s a frustrating brain chemistry for the person to have and I’m thankful that there are medicines to help those people.
I am outraged that those medicines are misused to tranquilise other children and turn them into
zombies ‘well-behaved pupils’ so that teachers with the impossible task of maintaining the classroom style a bureaucrat finds acceptable can “teach”. It isn’t the teachers’ fault, ultimately. They are between the Devil and the deep. It isn’t your fault for having given birth to an active little boy.
Anyway, now we’ve got kids on drugs that are not meant for kids, but are the only things left to try because the side effects from the other drugs not meant for kids are slowly breaking their little minds. I’ve seen little boys who were mentally handcuffed by drugs turn despondent, violent and suicidal. I’ve seen it happen a lot since 2002.
And now I strongly suspect that I’m seeing some of those boys grow up to take out others on their personal exit path.
*Or purposeful gun deaths. Suicide is the #1 cause of gun deaths in the US. In most of those cases the guns are legally owned, obtained and kosher hunting rifles or duty-issue sidearms.