President Trump is leading on the issue of what to do about securing our schools and assuring the safety of our students. The president called a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers to the White House to find out what they can agree on.
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The lawmakers made it clear they're not very well informed about the fundamental issues and that, as usual, they're being reactionary, rather than thoughtful, too willing to ignore real causes and complex issues.
None of them seemed to have read a recent study from Northeastern University that shows our schools are much safer than 20 years ago. Professor James Fox found that four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today. More children die each year from pool drownings or bike accidents.
So why can't lawmakers focus on the plight of schools that are too large to manage, that ignore deeply disturbed children who desperately need help, whose administrators, teachers and counselors are often afraid to act in the interest of the student or the security of classmates and the school?
On average, the ratio of high school students to counselors is nearly 500 to 1.
The CDC reports that up to one-in-five of this country's youth experience a mental disorder in a given year, and approximately 80% of those children do not receive treatment.
The number of students enrolled in alternative schools has grown over the last 15 years to approximately half a million kids. And nearly half of those schools which serve those with disciplinary or academic problems have a graduation rate under 50%.
So while Democrats and Republicans may focus on assault rifle limits and bans, they ignore the profound threats to our youth, our students and public schools, and the problems there are so widespread and often horrendous and readily ignored.
We can almost understand why so many of our politicians are attracted to reflexive simple solutions to the ugliest problems that worsen and now threaten to overwhelm not only our youth, but our society.