'This effort is but a beginning. Before we get involved in a lot of red tape activity, we need to look at some of the local causes of this and other teen problems.'

I send a thank you and encouragement to the new steering committee re: teen suicide. I will be contacting them. This effort is but a beginning. Before we get involved in a lot of red tape activity, we need to look at some of the local causes of this and other teen problems.

First: Canby is a bedroom community.

We love living here but a Barlow road traffic jam carries parents to and from Canby to work elsewhere. Not enough work exists in Canby to support the mortgages of the many new houses/subdivisions that profit the developers. A workday plus commute time leaves little family time - for an evening meal together, talk, play or work time between parents/teens—if student indeed enjoys an intact family.

Our youth leave school too early in the afternoon, many headed for empty houses, if they go home. "You are not alone"?

Second: School not only lets out too early but starts too early.

Studies show that teens cannot even begin to think until mid morn. Some of us remember Dr. Lendon Smith, pediatrician, who said "No teacher should have to teach a student who did not eat breakfast." Up at 5-6 a.m., not hungry, no breakfast, open campus for junk food lunch, and Mom's working so no family dinnertime.

Eat junk food to stall hunger, but lacking important nutrition and usually high sugar - which causes depression. Don't feel good so try escaping with drugs, ….suicide. Other results from poor nutrition such as digestive health, also contribute to depression.

Third: But not least are the emotional weights on teens/preteens.

We know of a student with high grades, who participated in healthy sports and other activities in high school, who graduated summa cum laude from a private college, who hated the social climate of Canby High School.

We know of a student now, who is failing academically and "hates" Canby High School because of all the social bullying occurring toward each other - seemingly with no regard to race, sex, rich/poor, smart/slow, popular/not noticed, …. . Adults need to teach and demand that students practice manners, civility, respect, toward each other -- no putdowns of any kind in any classroom or hall!!!!!!! And clean up their dirty language while you are at it.

Cell phones with trash-talk snap chat need to be checked at the school door. The influence of technology, T.V. - another whole subject. American Family Assoc. is trying to get Netflix to shut down an ongoing show re: teen suicide which has been verified to have caused at least one suicide.

This matter of teen suicide along with general well-being of youth who want to have a good life and grow into productive adulthood will require intentional attention from all adults involved - parents, church, school, community leaders, friends, family.

Let's do it!

Pat Smith


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