Our young people are reeling from the trauma of gun violence

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Young people were among a huge crowd of anti-violence protesters who shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway in June 2018.

Young people were among a huge crowd of anti-violence protesters who shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway in June 2018. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

As a school principal, I and my assistants and staff work with students who are teens and preteens. They are vulnerable, at the mercy of the community they live in.

The poet John Greenleaf Whitter said, “For of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’ ”

What could have become of the lives of the youth that were shot dead this summer? Unfortunately, we will never know. What we do know is that in just a few short weeks, schools across America will be in session.

How is the increase in violence impacting our youth? When school resumes, what shape will they be in psychologically?

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Chicago police reported that there was a nearly 139% increase in murders in July 2020 compared to the same time last year. How do teachers and school administrators work with students — and if schools start remotely, how do they provide services by way of teletherapy — who are experiencing traumatic events while dealing with COVID-19, particularly students of color whose families have been hard hit?

Unfortunately, we often don’t discuss the pain these youth are experiencing and the impact that pain has on different institutions.

As a military soldier, I saw troops that suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The difference is that they were adults. As a school principal, I and my staff work with students who are teens and preteens. They are vulnerable, at the mercy of the community they live in. Mental instability is increasing in youth. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among people aged 15-34, and the onset of all major mental illnesses can occur as early as age 7 to 11.

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Evidence of this mental anguish can be seen in the increase in shootings in neighborhoods, fights in schools, and poor student and teacher relationships. When you put students together who have been traumatized, the environment becomes complex and uncertain.

Educators are on the front lines, doing their best to provide help to the wounded. The challenges are stark and include working to find ways to deal with Black or Hispanic cultural norms that may not embrace help or have a lack of trust in institutions.

Please keep students, parents, and teachers in your deepest thoughts and help them work together.

Jerald McNair, South Holland

Take a seat, Cupp and Charen

In the August 7 edition of the Sun Times, under the banner “Joe must not make veepstakes mistake,” you published the opinions of two Republican/conservative pundits, S.E. Cupp and Mona Charen.

Ms. Cupp lets us know that if Joe Biden doesn’t choose the candidate she prefers for vice president, she may have to write-in someone else for president, as she did in 2016. A move that was …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

      

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