By: Lonny Anger:
I am violating every rule that says you shouldn’t write and send anything while angry.
Wait 24 hours, they say.
However, I can’t wait.
I am finding a loophole in that direction, because in addition to being angry I am sad, upset, and incredibly devastated to hear about the 2 students who died by suicide that occurred this week associated with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland Florida last year.
The first was a student who was a 2018 graduate, who suffered from PTSD and survivor’s guilt.
The second happened last night, and as of this writing not too much is known.
What is known is this – that both of these deaths were likely preventable, just like the 17 murdered and 17 injured last February.
And many of us have blood on our hands.
Because we don’t take mental health seriously enough, we have not paid attention to the warning signs including the fact that almost as many students from Columbine died by suicide than from the actual shooting, and we aren’t doing enough to change things until it is too late.
I stated in my previous article that in order for the community to truly heal, every single person that was found partially responsible should be removed from their position.
That has not been the case.
There are several people still in their positions, and others who have been removed from their current role but simply moved to another.
The reason why that is so important is because new people will bring different ideas and views to the situation – remaining employees are simply too engulfed in maintaining their positions that many cannot think clearly.
For instance, at the recent Superintendent Meeting at MSD, a parent suggested that every MSD student involved should have their mental health evaluated by a professional – and that professional should determine whether or not those students should receive further treatments.
Why was this not done?
I’m not a professional therapist. I likely don’t handle it properly when my daughter shares with me certain situations as a teenage girl – do you think I have the capacity to determine if she is suicidal? I can’t tell the difference between “normal” teenage issues, and which are directly related to the shooting – who can?
Now perhaps the parents of these students recognized the warning signs – and feasibly they tried to get them help. Maybe their issues were present previously, and the shooting helped accelerate those feelings.
What about the 90% of us who have “Not My Child Syndrome”, and the other 10% of us who don’t know we have it?
We are the same people who believed this tragedy could not happen here.
And although it’s great that we have a lot of support available – how many students (and parents) are brave enough to take advantage of that support?
I commend the parents who have made sure their kids have seen therapists – but I suspect the overall number is small.
As I have stated previously – I equate the offering of mental health to when someone says “Let me know if you need anything, or anything I can do” after someone passes away. That always bothered me because it puts the responsibility on the person you are addressing it to – it may make you feel better by saying it, but it really is an empty offer. Instead, tell them that you are bringing food over, walk their dog, take their kids for the day. That way, something is actually being done – you will feel better, and I can assure you the other person will appreciate the gesture.
We need to approach the mental health of our students the same way – we need to guide them and take this epidemic seriously.
Concerned about HIPAA laws?
Have everyone sign a HIPA release before the evaluation. If they refuse, their parents need to sign a release saying they do not want their child evaluated.
This isn’t about politics or gun control, which are the most divisive issues currently in our community.
This is about preventing more tragedies from happening from an already unimaginable disaster, and I have to believe something we can all agree upon.
As it relates to politics – it still baffles my mind that people try to constantly convince others in offensive ways to believe what they believe – we all come from different socio-economic backgrounds, have different religious beliefs, and likely different circumstances help shape who and why we support a particular candidate or party – who are you to tell me or others who we should back? I respect your decision of who you support even though I may not agree – the reason why is I recognize that we may have different experiences, thereby changing the way we may look at the same situation.
The same goes for grieving – each of us grieves in different ways. While all in our community have been impacted – some are not comfortable expressing how they feel, while some are very vocal about how the shooting affected them.
All need to be monitored, but it’s the ones that may not be as vocal that we absolutely need to keep our eye on.
Just this week in one for the healing groups for Parkland that is on Facebook, a woman was ranting about how parents should put on their “big boy pants” and stop with the yoga and chanting, etc. The most astonishing thing she wrote was that the families of the victims’ are “moving on” by turning their grief into action.
Really? Moving on? That’s the term she chose to use when describing these families dealing with the unspeakable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and just assume she is just a terrible writer, and cannot properly articulate her thoughts in writing – but even so – who is she to tell anyone how to grieve?
Especially in a Facebook group that is specifically for healing?
It’s time for action.
Not time for arguing, insulting, or offending.
MSD students are out on Spring Break this week.
The Broward School Board should have professional trauma therapists on site starting tomorrow.
Classes on Monday 3/31 should be canceled until every student (and 2018 graduates) has been evaluated.
It’s now 17 + 2.
I don’t want to see a +3.
Otherwise, we haven’t learned a F#*$ing thing.
Lonny Anger is a “proud” Parkland resident and father of three children including his daughter who attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas. He is a licensed general contractor and owner of Merrick Industrial Management Corp, a commercial construction firm specializing in hospital and healthcare facilities interior renovation. Anger serves as vice president/media relations for Shine MSD, which was formed by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Students after the shooting to support victims’ families and healing the Parkland community through the arts. He also enjoys volunteering in the city as a baseball and flag football coach.
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