Saturday, April 13, 2013

Moving Forward...And Learning the Lesson?

There is a belief, to which I am an adherent, that you keep getting the lesson to learn until you learn it. 
Well, I'd say our society hasn't yet learned a very big lesson...because the death toll keeps rising.
But there is hope and with hope, we can accomplish so much. 
Students at Dartmouth High School will be taking a pledge on Monday to use social media only for positive messages. The idea comes from the school's sociology teacher, Heather Hughes-Leck, in response to the Rehtaeh Parsons' tragedy. According to the article on the front page of the Halifax paper, the teacher says students were upset with what happened and how all young people were being portrayed, and how hopeless they felt to create change.
Just creating awareness of language -- slut, bitch, loser -- and the power of clicking "Like" on a snarky comment will make a difference; to have students post their promise for positive social media messages only is so much more. It's change and we desperately need to change so much if we are to move forward and learn from this...and all the other examples of social media used to wreck lives.
The teachers and her students hope this campaign takes off nationally. I hope the media outlets that jumped on the sensational story of Rehtaeh Parsons (and now the very same kind of tragedy revealed to have happened to a 15-year-old girl in California) will jump on this sensational idea.

Herald columnist Marilla Stephenson provides very excellent points in her column today about how parents can go about creating change with their children. I'm glad to see someone addressing parents about their role in keeping their children safe and protected and educated; she covers some huge points that every parent needs to read, memorize and take action on.   
Notable points: 
2. It's time for dads to step up.
4. Stop turning a blind eye to underage drinking and providing minors with alcohol. 
7. Be realistic. We can't expect school principals and teachers to be police officers in the evening.
10. Don't trivialize rape or suicide. Ever.

Read the whole thing here:

Better yet, buy a copy of the paper and CUT OUT THE COLUMN. Post it on the fridge as a constant reminder that parents are the ultimate guardians of their children's lives. Let's learn this lesson this time.

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