Recently, Netflix aired the series 13 Reasons Why. It depicts the story of a high school community, and how their lives are shattered when one of the students, Hannah Baker, kills herself. The 13 reasons for her suicide are laid out on a series of tapes, which are sent to the people she holds responsible for her death.
The series has split critics down the middle, and mental health professionals have questioned Netflix’s decision to air the series, afraid it might lead to copycat instances and paint the wrong picture about suicide. However, where the series succeeds is in giving a wake-up call to parents, students, and educational professionals. The suicide rate amongst teenagers has risen considerably over the years, and it is our responsibility to understand why this is happening.
The following are just some of the factors that can lead to the stresses of a student’s life. It is not meant to be exhaustive and is only a guide.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It happens in every school and can be physical through acts of violence, and emotional, such as purposefully excluding someone or spreading false rumors. With the rise of social media, cyberbullying has now become a serious problem, and once something is posted online about somebody, it is often difficult to remove it. For the bully, they cannot see the harm they are doing to their victim, and so acts of cruelty online are now commonplace.
Parents and school staff need to take the problem seriously. When somebody comes to you for help, don’t dismiss the problem, even if you think it is insignificant.
Many teenagers have an issue with their self-image. The media and peer pressure have given students an unfair expectation on how they should look. Being too fat or thin can lead to bullying from others, and parents and teachers can unwittingly cause a problem by advocating better body shape for sport and competitive activities.
Signs of eating disorders, such as anorexia, are skipping meal times, using laxatives and self-harming.
Our young people are bombarded with SAT tests and exams. Parents, teachers, and other students can cause extra pressure during these difficult times. Towards the end of high school, there is further stress when it comes time to choose what college to attend. Often, students are overwhelmed by the opinions of parents, peers, and teachers who push them into a direction they do not want to take.
Young people need acceptance, attention, and love. To fit into high school culture, some students feel forced to have sex before they are emotionally ready. Addictions such as drugs and alcohol are an increasing problem in our schools too, and students conform to the pressure to experiment. Relationships may be strained at home too with parents and siblings, and divorce can be an added source of anxiety.
You would think that school is one of the safest places your kids could be, right? However, worrying news reports and recent research may show that simply isn’t the case. Your child’s school could be far more dangerous than you realize due to violence, peer pressure, cleanliness, and hygiene. Let’s look at some of these issues and think about how they could be a danger to your child’s health.
Bullying is a lot more dangerous than people realize and lately, it’s become a far stronger presence in schools. This is mainly due to technology and new ways that children are able to bully under the radar. Social media is one of the common ways children now bully others. They can set up profiles online for that individual, post pictures or send hateful messages. This could be happening in school environment without you ever realizing there’s an issue. Teach may not even realize it’s going on and could argue it’s out of their jurisdiction. Particularly, if the messages are being sent out of school hours. Unfortunately, bullying can have severe and often fatal consequences. Cases of bullying have been linked to numerous child suicides over the years and increase the chance of self-harm.
Teachers working in a school should have been put through extensive checking procedures. Unfortunately, it seems that more often than not, dangerous individuals do slip through the cracks. There have been cases of teachers with a history of sexual offenses as well as staff with mental illness. It is clear that there needs to be more checks on anyone working with children. Background checks must be thorough, and they should go back years. Otherwise, how can we guarantee that our kids are safe in school? The answer is that quite simply, we can’t.
You may not think of cleanliness in schools as a major issue. But think how many sick days could be prevented if schools were held to a higher standard of hygiene. Thousands of pupils are off school every year. This is due to illnesses that could have been prevented with better measures for cleanliness. The issue is that schools are facing tighter budgets. Many are trying to cut back in an area that doesn’t seem important, and that’s cleanliness. There should be a school cleaning checklist so that owners can make sure all the areas are completely covered. This will certainly reduce to the number of viruses and bugs kids contract in school.
Finally, from the knifing of a teacher in England to the shootings in America, it’s clear schools aren’t as safe as they used to be. It seems every year; there is another tragedy involving a school pupil involved in an attack. We need to be doing more to protect the children inside the school walls. This does not mean that staff should now be armed. However, it is a time we had metal detectors in every school across the country. We need to make sure that an armed civilian can never again enter a school and attack the children.
As you work toward your Public Administration degree, you will study the importance of a multitude of organizations, including the ever-controversial National Security Agency (NSA). When President Harry Truman established this government organization, he had in mind an agency that would collect and decode information from around the world. In the infographic below, learn more about the NSA and how it evolved into its current reputation for exceeding the scope of its power by monitoring US citizens without warrants: