Friday, March 19, 2010

Why? Again

I find myself this morning once again consumed by the same question I’ve been mystified by for several weeks.

Why?

I am guessing I have company this morning, especially in the Interboro community.

That’s because it has happened again. Another young life lost. An official ruling has not been made, but every indication is that this young man decided to take his own life.

His death comes just three weeks after two female Interboro High School took their own lives by stepping in front of a high-speed Acela train on the tracks in Norwood.

I don’t know why this is happening. I wish I did.

Apparently some people do. And they made it clear as soon as we posted the story on our Web site Thursday afternoon.

Minutes after I put the story up, a comment appeared making it clear who was at fault. We were, the media. Specifically this newspaper.

The reader made it clear they believe our coverage of the girls’
suicides was inflammatory, sensational and simply glorifed the incident and the aftermath.

I don’t happen to agree.

As luck would have it, literally as I was writing this piece, I received a phone call from a woman who wanted to talk about exactly this situation.

She knows of what she speaks. Her son committed suicide five years ago.
She discovered his body.

We had an emotional conversation. She said her daughter and niece working on a program to help kids struggling with depression, which is what claimed her son.

She does not believe the newspaper aggravated the situation, or sparked any kind of copy-cat actions.

I hope and pray she is right.

But I also know this. Something is terribly wrong with too many of our kids today. I don’t think that’s limited to Interboro, although that certainly is where the focus is right now. They are not the first school district in this county to deal with this problem. Unfortunatelyk, they almost certainly will not be the last. The problem is not going to go away by ignoring it.

This newspaper is not planning to ignore it either. I am hoping to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I guess I will start by telling kids of another word that has been on my mind a lot these past few weeks.

Forever.

My wife, who is a teacher’s aide, tells me she sees kids every day who think only of right now. They don’t process things in terms of tomorrow, or next week. They don’t realize things will get better, that life will go on and improve. They know only that they are hurting right now. Too often with tragic results.

If you have an idea on what the newspaper can do to help fight this problem, post a comment on this blog. Send me an e-mail at editor@delcotimes.com, or call me at 610-622-8818.

I don’t want to keep asking myself why.

Instead I’d like to say this is why, and this is what we need to do about it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to hear more about people's positive efforts that result from such a tragedy - like the efforts of that mother, daughter, and niece you mentioned.

March 20, 2010 at 11:38 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Daily times can sponsor assemblies at ALL of the Interboro schools to help the students, teachers, and (yes open it to the) parents recognize symptoms, talk to each other and get each other help. There are still MANY students in that district, even in the elementary schools, currently in trouble and contemplating a very permanent, tragic solution to many temporary problems. Please remind the school district to not forget about the elementary and middle school kids, who either knew or were friends or relatives of, the tragic students involved. Let the students know it is ok to talk to an adult if they or a friend is in trouble. Let them know it is ok to call the police if they cannot get ahold of an adult.
Many forget that Norwood itself is only 1 mile square, and most knew of the tragedy in under 10 minutes. Also, the entire school district is quite small, and if you are not related to the victims, you were friends with them, or their parents who were also either living in Norwood or Glenolden, as well as several attended Interboro themselves. Ensure that the schools pay more attention to the lives of their students. As an Interboro grad, with family still in the district, please do not let this problem "fade away"- make the support ongoing and a permanent part of the curriculum, at Interboro, and ALL school districts.

March 20, 2010 at 8:51 PM 

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