Our Schools Are Changing
By Margaret Daley
In my The Men of Texas Rangers Series I have dealt with several issues facing our teenagers today from prescription drug abuse to bullying. I taught secondary level school for twenty-seven years and over those years I’ve seen a lot of changes occur.
Today our children are facing so much more than my generation in the 1960s. There was one year while I was teaching when a string of students committed suicide. It rocked the school and many had a hard time dealing with the emotions from a friend taking his own life.
On top of that bullying seems to be on the rise as well as teens planning and going through with killing fellow classmates and teachers at school. I never once thought when I went to school as a kid that someone could pull a gun out and start shooting. As a child, we would prepare for a tornado and fire emergency. Now schools also prepare for an intruder on campus and what to do in that kind of situation. We had several intruders on campus over the last years I was teaching. Scary.
When I was a teenager, alcohol was what some would abuse. Now it is drugs—illegal like cocaine and prescription—as well as alcohol and anything else that will give them a high. When I was doing research on prescription drug abuse, the law enforcement officer who was helping me described what a pill party is (it may be called something different in your part of the country). I couldn’t believe some people, often teens, would put different prescription drugs into a large bowl and take some randomly with no regard to what they were ingesting.
Our kids are growing up so fast, exposed to a lot of graphic violence and sex. The schools are demanding more and more academically from our children. All students must perform at a certain level whether they are ready or not. Algebra is being taught much earlier. What we learned in first and second grade is being taught in kindergarten. Then add the pressure they must pass state mandated tests in order to pass on to the next level, and the students today are carrying a lot on their shoulders.
Our children are the future. What are you seeing where you live? What do you think we should do to make the situation better?