A principal friend of mine told me that his school has had their third suicide in 6 months. His school has approximately 1200 students. I will be speaking there in the fall. What do you say to a group of teens who have lost three of their classmates since January? My speaking topics cover a wide variety of issues that our children are facing right now. One thing has been a recurring theme for me as I travel the country visiting middle schools and high schools. That one thing is connection.
We have a group of students in my local high school that has been working with a group of students from a struggling district in another state. Our school traveled there and then the students from the other school traveled to us over the summer. The conversation started out and was supposed to be about addiction and the opioid epidemic. Their district is suffering greatly. The discussion ended up being about connection. Over 90% of the time kids were talking about human connection as what they crave most. This just reinforced everything that I have seen and heard in the over 100 schools I visited this year.
We all need to be connected to someone and if we don’t connect with someone we are likely to connect with something. As you return to school this fall look for areas where you can form new connections with your students and strengthen the bonds you already have.