Well, it’s October 9, 2018. Today is my birthday. I should be out celebrating another year of life. However, I lost one of my students yesterday. My student wasn’t murdered, injured, or battling a terminal illness. My student died of a drug overdose. He was a child that died long before his time. He hadn’t even begun to understand all that the world had to offer before he violently and abruptly left it. My heart is heavy today for the family members and friends he left behind. I firmly believe that parents should never be required to bury their children. Unfortunately, this family will have to. I am angry. I’m angry that this kid was able to purchase drugs. I’m angry that someone is probably off selling more of the same drug to someone else. I’m angry that once the drug sales are complete, the drug dealer will probably go out and tout or display faux wealth. I’m angry. While many of us are trying to seeking justice and freedom politically, we should also choose to empower our children with knowledge rather than foolish flights of fancy. Again, I’m angry. When I enter school, I see children that are more interested in matching their underwear with their sneakers than they are with ensuring that their academic performance is aligned with their future goals. I smell the scent of weed more than I ever smell the pages of a book. I see more iPhones and Beats headphones than I do notebooks and pencils. I realize that the “21st Century” classroom is filled with technological devices. However, many “21st Century” children can’t think independently, creatively, and to some degree, logically, without the use of some form of a computer program. To think, they have the audacity to call that progress. Again, I’m angry. I’m angry that drug dealers are more accessible than mentors. I’m angry that it’s easier to buy weed, heroine, and cocaine than it is to pay for medical treatment for addiction. I’m angry that 98% of the music that our children listen to glorifies drug use, drug sales, sex, murder, gang affiliation, prison, the “unimportance” of education, and just overall stupidity. I’m angry. Drug users are addicted to drugs, and drug dealers are addicted to money. Like any fiend, both will do anything in order to get it. In fact, both of them are seeking the same thing; escape. Our children and our community are officially in crisis. Right now, we don’t need another trendy dance or cool rap lyric. Right now, we need real solutions to problems that are more real than many of us want to accept. We need change. We need it now. Again, I lost one of my students yesterday. When I awakened this morning, I watched the news to see if they mentioned anything about the child that died too soon. They spoke about dogs being left in a car. They spoke about Brett Kavanaugh. They spoke about Melania Trump’s clothing. Do you know what they said about my student? Nothing………Patrick
This week, please do something to help someone else for no other reason than to make their lives better. As always, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.