Two teen age girls committed suicide in the small town of Lynd, Minnesota. The two fourteen year olds believed they had been constantly subjected to bullying and felt ostracized by fellow classmates. On Saturday night, they arranged for a sleepover, and at some time during the evening the girls hung themselves in an apparent suicide pact. It appears they were tired of being teased by other children because they were over weight or because they did not belong to the right group. Haylee Fentress in her suicide note urged that no one feel sorry for what she did and asked that her parents have lots of pink at the funeral. Paige Moravetz also left a suicide note.
Who is responsible for this incident and thousands of similar occurrences in our schools? We blame former President George Bush, we blame President Barack Obama and we blame Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. They have transformed our schools into factories whose product is test scores, not education. Their mad desire for test results has led teachers to focus on scores rather than on children. It is imperative that, in addition to academic learning, schools are also a caring community of young people.
A hundred years ago, the great American educator, John Dewey said a major purpose of schools was to create a sense of community in which all students felt they were learning in a safe environment. Schools have ceased being a community and the pull of test scores results in students competing with one another. President Obama, YOU are responsible for this destruction of the school as a community of children. Secretary of Education, Duncan, YOU share blame in the death of these two girls!