posted on Feb, 14 2010 @ 10:34 PM
I graduated from high school in 1994. On many occasions, both with my mother who was employed by the same school system for about 4 years after my
graduation, and with my wife, I've talked about how much school environments have changed in such a short time.
The area I lived in is located in a very religious region of the United States. So the vast majority of the students were Christian, and those that
weren't were respectful of the beliefs of others. Public displays of faith were never frowned upon, nor were they protested. At that time I was a
Christian, and I participated in a couple organizations which meshed quite significantly with the lives of many students. The environment was just
very comfortable, and our school had this awesome sense of community. During my junior year our school won the state championship in football, and the
impact from that year was positive and inspiring for everyone.
I believe it was two years after I graduated that my mother was hired as an aide in one of the "special needs" classrooms at the high school I
attended. At first I didn't think much about that, but on the occasions that her and I would talk about her work, I became more and more aware that
in that very short time since I finished there, the place had changed drastically.
While I was at that school there was only one classroom for special needs students. And, to be honest, all of the students in there did have special
needs. They were the unfortunate kids who had ailments such as Down Syndrome, very obvious mental shortcomings, and so on. In other words, they needed
to be separated from the other students simply because they would never have been able to keep up with the curriculum.
My mom was assigned to one of three "special needs" classrooms. And those classes were packed to the point that they could not fit more kids in
them. Now here's what really, really bothered me about what she told me. Most of the kids were not there because of mental ailments like the kids
I'd been in school with. They were in the special needs rooms because they had things like ADD, ADHD, etc. My mom would often remark about how so
many of them were on Ritalin and other drugs in order to curtail their so-called unacceptable behavior. I could tell she too was bothered by what was
going on, but she always seemed reluctant to voice her opinions freely for some reason.
It was this process of observing the evolution of the school from afar that started my own digestion of thoughts on the situation. I believe that the
medical and pharmaceutical industries made a mutual and conscientious effort to diagnose new disorders and prescribe drugs which would impact these
new disorders. ADD is such a vague ailment that just about anyone could be diagnosed with it! Is it any wonder that so many children are handed drugs
in order to "fix" their behaviors, make them learn better and easier, and allow their parents to be free of the concern that their child may be
Awesome OP. Thanks for bringing this topic up. I think it's long overdue. I just wish there was something that we could do about it. With the way
corporations and the almighty dollar control damn near every aspect of our lives these days, and the constant progression of technology (iPods, cell
phones, etc.) which is commonplace in the lives of young people, I can only see this whole situation getting worse.