December 19, 2012

Unpopular Elephants

Old NFO made some excellent points about the elephant(s) in the room regarding the massacre in Newton, CT.  That post led to this one.  I know it won't be popular.  I know that many won't agree, but the elephant is in my room and I am going to address it head on.  My fictional elephant, my real opinion - such is the beauty of a blog.

There are people in this world that should be institutionalized.  Their immediate family members aren't always able to see the writing on the wall, and perhaps, shouldn't be the only decision makers in many situations.

Once upon a time our society locked far too many people away in places where unspeakable things happened to them.  We locked them up, and largely forgot about them, for mental and physical deformities, disease, mental illness.  Even people needing advanced medical care were among the various reasons and diagnoses that were once acceptable and/or suggested reasons to institutionalize people. 

Thankfully, people started to question the automatic institutionalization of certain groups, recognizing that appropriate care could be provided for many of these people at home.  Down's Syndrome, epilepsy, and developmental disabilities weren't reasonable conditions to justify locking people away for their entire lives.

Pharmaceutical development of anti-psychotic drugs led to the de-institutionalization of people with more severe mental illnesses.

Then came the mainstreaming craze.  And I think this is part of the problem.  Some kids should not be in public schools.

When we have to hire additional and specific staff and teachers for schools, to accommodate special classes of children, how is that beneficial to the other 98% of the kids there?  Are school psychologists and special ed teachers really the best solution for mentally ill children?

I went to school with a boy who could not speak, was confined to a wheelchair and had limited use of his limbs.  He had both mental and developmental issues.  He was an extremely angry person.  He had some sort of communication device - well before the computers of today.  I remember saying hello to him, only to have him type out - and a computerized voice say to me - something quite vulgar and hateful.

I remember another school mate that was, literally and routinely, put in a straight jacket.  He would fly into rages and there would be an announcement over the intercom for all male staff to report to his classroom, where they would restrain him until he calmed down.

In second grade, Boom had a classmate that acted out constantly.  He said horrible things to people, acted violently, was a constant distraction.  He tripped Boom whenever she walked by.  One day he choked her and pushed her up against the wall.  She wasn't his only victim. 

And did anyone suggest that he needed more help than mainstreaming him in public school had to offer?  Hell. No.

There are kids that torture animals, set fires, take bucketfuls of prescription drugs, and because of our overly politically correct, equal treatment for all mindset, are sitting next to your precious little Johnny at school each day. 

I submit that we haven't really haven't done away with mental institutions, we have simply moved the asylum into our schools. 

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