A ‘Disturbing Benchmark’

Could our nation handle another Columbine?

USA Today broke a tragic yet insightful story June 4 about some misguided students who could indeed be the next to enter a school with plans of killing peers and staff.

We know that recent events, even in Kitsap County, have led misdirected teens to draw up plans of some form. Thankfully, they’ve been averted by law enforcement.

One plan, talked of by a female student at Kingston Junior High on MySpace.com, led to her expulsion. Another plan, formulated by a Central Kitsap Junior High School student, was not only foiled but he accidently shot a peer while apparently teaching him how to shoot a gun – one they’d planned to use to kill the principal, according to county court documents.

As the USA Today article winds to a close, its implication is that we need to focus on more than math and reading at school.

“… Mark Greenberg, a researcher at Penn State University, says … schools’ “intensive and single-minded focus” on basic skills is pushing out time to work on social and emotional well-being.

“Many teachers we work with around the country feel under such enormous pressure to spend all their time on reading and math. I’m sure we’re going to see more children who are disaffected and feel school is not a warm and friendly place for them.”

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