Letters to the Editor: NYA Times Aug. 23, 2012

Critical writer should stop finding fault with others

To the editor:

Dear Mrs. Mackenthun: I am responding to your whining. Today is Thursday, not whine day! There’s a Bible verse: Take the log from your own eye before you try to do so with others! Pax,

Alan Krueger


Writers unhappy with district’s lack of change

To the editor:

We have tried numerous ways to engage the Central Public Schools in regards to the issue of suicide. At the beginning, the conversations were positive and we felt like there was hope for making positive changes. Until … the night of graduation when they failed to mention Andrew Mulville’s name during the graduation ceremony.

They decided it would be best to give an honorary diploma to his mother and father backstage (where nobody could see) or send it home with his brother. It was that night when we realized the school administration would rather ignore this problem and hopefully it will just go away. Through many calls, letters and emails to the school board, principal and superintendent we were finally allowed to appear at a school board meeting but they laid out ground-rules for us:

1) All comments will be addressed to Elroy Latzig

2) Anything you say cannot use names of school employees or administration and could not be accusatory

3) There will be no responses from the school board.

So, confined by the rules, we showed up at the meeting, hoping to work towards positive change that would help future students and their families. It was very difficult, but we achieved our goal and did not break any of the rules. A few weeks later we emailed Elroy Latzig and the high school principal, asking if they planned on making any changes. The principal called me a few days later and told me he disagreed with us and they would continue working on this issue but there wouldn’t be any changes.

Summary of what we are fighting for and what we want to change:

1) All deaths should be handled in the same manner. If you create a memorial for a student that dies because of a car accident, then you should be prepared to create a similar memorial for a child that died of a mental illness. Distinction of “cause of death” should not be up to a principal or superintendent.

2) Acknowledging a student at a graduation ceremony should be mandatory, regardless of cause of death. Ignoring it completely only draws more attention to the stigma involved with mental illness and sets an atrocious standard. If the leaders of a school district avoid the “difficult” topics, then they are doing a disservice to the community and most importantly, the children.

3) Education! Educating the children in our schools about mental illness i.e. depression, anxiety. In our opinion it’s not good enough to educate the kids during “Raider Time.” There needs to be a set curriculum that focuses on what depression and anxiety are. How to reach out for help. How to talk about it. How to recognize a classmate that is suffering. Taking away the stigma is most important.

Here is a link to a study that we presented to the school board: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/App_Files/Media/PDF/sprc_online_library.pdf

Below are the school board members up for re-election this year:
Scott Knight, Dean Lind, Craig Pexa, Jim Spille.

Brian and Jen Withrow