I was always amazed at the magnitude of the challenges that I was asked to deal with as a public high school science teacher. Kids would come to me with problems that were not only huge but sometimes life-threatening. Several times in my 41-year career, students told me that they were going to kill themselves. I was expected to handle every situation on my own. There were no professionally-trained school counselors available, no matter how bad the situation.
People wonder why we have school shootings all over this country. With the breakdown of the family and the lack of any moral code in the lives of today’s adolescents, school shootings are not surprising. The July 2019 issue of NEA Today published a report on this dilemma. According to recent surveys, the ratio of counselors to students in the United States is 444 to 1. There are 1.7 million students with no access to counselors and six million students who cannot see a school psychologist and ten million students who have no social workers available to them.
In my years of teaching, counselors helped students make our their class schedules. The school system had professional people in the administration building, but they rarely got to the schools, and when they did, it was for special needs situations. There were no school counselors available for personal contact with most of the kids.
As we continue to force religion out the lives of young men and women, we will continue to find them adrift in a world that is full of huge and growing challenges. Local Church congregations have an excellent opportunity to help save lives as well as souls by having people available to work in the vacuum that American education presents.
— John N. Clayton © 2019