February 26, 2014
What ever happened to playful pranks? staffeditorial eatonredink.com
Chickens running amuck throughout the school. Tents strewn across the school’s front lawn. Chairs and desks piled up in the hallways. Sound like chaos? Nah. It’s just that time of the year for senior pranks. We as students are led to believe that senior pranks are going to be the most hilarious and devious accomplishments of our high school lives. How could you blame us? Every great Disney Channel show has included some reference to the great pranks pulled in high school: putting a car on the school’s roof, leading a cow upstairs knowing it can’t come down—you know—the classics. But we couldn’t be more let down. Teachers and administration are cracking the whip on senior pranks nowadays. We’re not allowed to make a mess. We’re not allowed to alter anything in or about the school. We can’t make a scene. We cannot set foot in the principal’s office. Basically if it must be cleaned up or it draws attention, the plan is nixed. How in the world are we supposed to live up to Disney Channel expectations with these kinds of limitations in place? But that is the point of pranking, is it not? The goal is to draw attention. The senior class wants
to be able to pull off a practical joke that will make a statement and be remembered for years and years to come. But the motives aren’t all selfish. Everyone loves senior pranks. They make people laugh and lift some of the tension of the school year. They celebrate the end of the year and the coming of summer. But more than that, they’re meant to celebrate the end of an era—to mark the coming of a new chapter for all these seniors and send them off with a smile. Granted, sometimes the pranking gets out of hand. Putting a car on top of the school might not be the best idea (although if it could be done, it would be epic). There’s a point at which senior pranks should be put in check. When they get destructive, or edge on morally wrong, sure they should be nixed. However, the ones that build camaraderie and bring the class together in good-natured humor—those should be left alone. Senior pranks are some of the most memorable parts of the school year. They’re done in good humor, and they bring joy to the school. So why are they so strictly monitored and restricted? So what if they require a little cleaning up? Isn’t it worth it for a harmless practical joke and a little bit of mischievousness?
School violence must address mental illness haleycox webeditor
On Jan. 27, a 16-year-old student from Standley Lake High School in Westminster, CO entered his high school cafeteria and lit himself on fire in what would become a successful suicide attempt. The first issue that needs to be addressed is the tragic loss of a young man named Vincent Nett. The second point that must be addressed is this: what could put a young, bright student in so much pain that he chose to forego the rest of his life? Mental illness is surrounded by a certain stigma. People are afraid to talk about it. It’s easy to blame guns when tortured souls shoot up public places, but it’s a lot harder to blame the weaponry when a boy drinks bleach and sets himself on fire. As a society, can we remove all danger and still function? Can we pad the walls of every room, lock up all the sharp objects, and get rid of all the guns? No. The heart of the issue is mental illness. When someone gets heart disease, they’re treated promptly and out in the open. When someone gets breast cancer, others wear pink ribbons and hold rallies to support the victims. However, when someone is diagnosed with clinical depression, they’re treated in silence. There should be no shame about an irregularity in your brain if there’s no shame about an irregularity in your heart. Preventing the tragic loss of life at Standley Lake High School comes down to one thing-- Vincent Nett was suffering, and perhaps without the social stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicide, he would have gotten the help he needed. Nett posted
a suicide note on his Facebook page: “This is not someone’s fault, I had this planned for years so shut your face if you think that this was because of something recent or because of someone. There was nothing that anyone could have done.” Not only did Nett shy away from placing any blame on his friends or parents, but NY Daily News reported that he even “apologized for the way the school would smell after he roasted himself in his bid to publicly kill himself.” This was not a violent student who intended to do harm to anyone other than himself. According to friends, Nett had begun acting noticeably different. He had been planning his suicide for years, and nobody got him sufficient help to save his life. It’s reasonable to feel sad for a few days or to have a rough couple of weeks. It is not normal to want to kill yourself. It is not normal to feel as though death is a better option than life. Society today sends a message to the youth; worry about the future. Get a job, go to college, get a degree, get a house, get a bigger house. Stress and anxiety becomes the norm, and depression is brushed aside as a phase.
Depression is not a phase, selfharm is not a fashion statement, and suicide attempts are not ploys to get attention. They are genuine medical issues, and until it becomes okay to talk about them, young lives will continue to be lost. If you have a problem, tell someone. If you know someone who is suffering, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, tell someone. You’re not a bad person because you have to reach out for help; likewise, you’re being a good friend if you get someone the help they need. It’s not taboo to help someone who is suffering- it’s heroic. You’d be surprised how people respond when you’re open, honest, and direct about what’s going on. Coming at this from an inside perspective, as a young person who has been diagnosed with clinical depression, and as someone who knows what it’s like to have a funeral inside my head, it’s safe to say that getting help was the hardest and best decision I ever made. What I’ve learned is that there are people who care. It may not be normal, but it is okay to be depressed, anxious, and sad. You are not broken. If you’re suffering, and if you need help, it is okay to talk about it. Know that there are resources and people out there who will help you. Organizations like To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and safe2tell.org exist to let you know that you are not alone. We, as a society, cannot let suicide become a standard for youth. We cannot let depression and anxiety become an acceptable way to live. Tell a friend, tell a parent, tell a teacher.