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Friday, October 9, 2015

Stop school shootings. Get rid of school.

When people discuss school shootings, they discuss gun control and mental health issues. Curiously they leave out what I consider to be the primary problem: school.

Not everyone hates school. Not everyone is angry at schools that rejected them, told them they were losers, bored them and so on. Those are not reasons to shoot anyone. Well, maybe they are for some people.  Let’s assume that you are a person with issues, not the happiest, best looking, most loved, most admired, smartest, or most together kid in the school. What happens to such people?

they are made fun of
they are ostracized
they are made to feel stupid
they are ridiculed
they are told they can’t do thing something they wanted to do
they don't make the team
they don't get into a club
they don’t get into the next school they may have wanted to attend.

All of school is a contest. It is a contest for who gets to go to Harvard, who is on student council, who is the teacher’s pet, who is the best looking, who has the most friends, and so on. There are losers of these contests. In fact, most people who go to school feel like losers a lot of the time. There are prizes they didn't get, special trips they couldn't go on, bad grades that make them feel dumb, kids who won’t be friends with them, guys who got the girl they wanted. Kids everywhere want to fit in, and there are usually other kids who want to keep them out. Teachers have kids they like better than other kids. It is only natural. So, there are kids who feel that their teacher doesn't like them. There are kids who have nice clothing and those that ridicule them because they aren’t wearing the latest fashion, Kids are ridiculed because they don't agree with the majority on whatever is being discussed. Kids are ridiculed because they are different or weird, too smart, or too dumb.

In fact, school can be a nightmare for some kids — a torture chamber.

And we are surprised that there are so many school shootings. I am surprised there aren’t more.

You don’t have to attend a school to think that a school would be good to shoot up if you have mental problems, are lonely,  and have lots of anger. It is the obvious place to choose. It is where you were miserable. It is where your problems started. It doesn’t even have to be the school you attended.

But we insist on attributing school shootings to gun control and mental heath issues. Of course, these are big issues, but I would just like one newscaster or commentator to point out that school is an awful place for many of the students there and it makes them angry.

The solution? Shut school down. (Keep providing the daycare possibilities. With two parents working, kids staying at home isn’t all that likely any more.) 

How do we do this? It wouldn’t be that difficult. We live in the age of the internet. A kid could learn anything he or she wanted to learn easily enough. We would just need to build some interesting things for them to learn and do in virtual worlds that they find fascinating. They can work in virtual groups of other kids with online mentors. Then, if they were unhappy they could stop what they are doing and do something else. We need to stop having mandatory courses that everyone must take and let kids do what they want.

Who is at fault for school shootings? A government that hasn't a clue about school, boring courses, mean kids, competition, and the awful effect of it all on children.

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S.G.M.T. said...

I won't disagree that the structure and design of schools need change. But, it's entirely possible that one key value of school isn't just in the three Rs but in learning how to deal with the social realities described. These certainly don't end with graduation. For a counter argument, consider this:

Alex said...

Is this a serious post, or a troll?

"They are told they can’t do thing something they wanted to do", the existence of "guys who got the girl they wanted" and several of the other so-called problems you list are unavoidable corollaries of life that people need to learn coping skills for. It's not a failure of school that they can't fulfill the desires of every student. It's a failure of society that we allow children to have such a sense of entitlement that they feel justified in killing people just because they're feeling down.

It's irresponsible and unhelpful to conflate these 'problems' that come from an unrealistic sense of entitlement---that life should cater to you, and if it doesn't, then other people around you must suffer your wrath---with actual academic and socialization failures in our school system.

laserblue said...

Could you ask apprentice historian Allen Willoughby to create an RPG dramatizing this?
Youare quite right about two parents working these days.
Check out The School in the Cloud SOLES and SOMES.