Classmate Post Responses – School dropout & suicide

Respond to the following classmates’ posts in 100-150 words:
1) While many more children with diverse backgrounds are being educated than ever before in our history, American schools today still face challenged related to drop out rates and how it corresponds with youth suicide.

Common risk factors for school dropouts are “peer rejection; stressful events; poor academic achievement/school failure; poverty; school violence/aggression towards peers; low commitment to school; not college-bound; associating with drug-using/deviant peers; and loss of close relationships or friends” (Youth.gov, n.d.). Common risk factors for youth suicide are “death of a family, friend or pet; parents divorcing; homelessness; mental health problems; past suicide attempts; a family history of suicide; or having a way to get a gun” (Kaslow, n.d.).

Common protective factors for school dropouts are “the presence of mentors and support for development of skills and interests; opportunities for engagement within school and community; positive norms; clear expectations for behaviors; physical and psychological safety” (Youth.gov, n.d.). Common protective factors for youth suicide are “positive self-esteem, coping, support from peers and mentors” (Walsh & Eggert, 2007).

There are four types of dropout types are disengaged type, low-achiever type, quiet type, and maladjusted type (McWhirter et al., 2012, p. 139). The disengaged type “obtain surprisingly high achievement scores but care little about school grades and have few educational aspirations, generally do not like school, do not recognize the importance of education, and accord little value to both school and education in their lives” (McWhirter et al., 2012, p. 139). The low-achiever type have “relatively few behavior problems but demonstrate a very weak commitment to education, experience poor grades, and learn little” (McWhirter et al., 2012, p. 139). The quiet type have “few external problems but exhibit poor school performance while not misbehaving much” (McWhirter et al., 2012, p. 139). The maladjusted type “demonstrate a weak commitment to education, have poor school performance, invest little in school life, and frequently are in disciplinary trouble” (McWhirter et al., 2012, p. 139).

Of the four types, the quiet type would be most at risk for mental health problems and suicide. They have poor school achievement and little attachment to the school, and often suffer from depressive symptoms, and tend to drop out of school in response to stressful life events. In middle school, I remember having some Latino friends who could be classified as the quiet type (although we were all identifying under the “emo” subculture back then), as my friends struggled with English as a second language (which meant they would fall behind or get placed in classes they felt made them feel stupid) and they were experiencing a lot of psychological stressors at home (they were worried about undocumented family members and they lived in a cramped housing situation). I definitely knew my friends were smart but they had also expressed suicide ideation to me (which was considered “normal” in the “emo” subculture) and so it made me worried about the times when I would come to school and they wouldn’t be there for several days at a time.

One strategy that could be implemented to prevent both dropouts and youth suicide is creating prevention and support programs that are targeted at youth who come from poor families, dangerous neighborhoods, or non-English speaking backgrounds with the goal of improving academic achievements. Educators would need to be empathetic toward students who are “excessively truant, do not complete assignments, and who are dissatisfied with their grades” (Szlyk, 2021), as these students are at greater risk of attempting suicide, but there also needs to be an emphasis on making sure that these students are able to catch up academically, work at their own pace, receive credit for their work, and even discuss alternate routes for school completion. For a lot of students, school is often the place they can go to get access to healthcare (the nurse’s office), food (the cafeteria), or emotional support (educators and peer interaction).

References

            Kaslow, N. (N.d.) Teen Suicides: What Are the Risk Factors? Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://childmind.org/article/teen-suicides-risk-factors/#:~:text=Parents%20divorcing%2C%20loss%20of%20their,are%20big%20risks%20as%20well.

            McWhirter, J. J., McWhirter, B. T., McWhirter, E. H., McWhirter, R. J. (2012). At Risk Youth (5th ed.). Brooks/Cole.

            Walsh, E. & Eggert, L. L. (2007, September 5). Suicide risk and protective factors among youth experiencing school difficulties. Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2007.00483.x.

Youth.gov. (N.d.) Risk and Protective Factors for Youth. Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth.

2)Some of the common risk and protective factors for school dropout and youth suicide? There are many things that contribute to dropout. The children with specific” learning disabilities and with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drop out of school are more socially alienated from classmates and teachers” (Pp.132). Many children who are LGBT felt unsafe in in schools. “LGBT youths are susceptible to depression and are at higher risk of suicide because of internal turmoil and environmental harassment” (Pp134). Out of the four types of dropout types I have to say the quiet type would be my first choice, mainly because they are suppressing their thoughts and feeling. I also feel that Maladjusted type could also be at risk because the lack of motivation this could lead to depression and low self-esteem.

When it comes to prevention for suicide, education and resources would be the most affective. Sometimes children feel alone and do not have anyone to turn to, so we need to focus on providing more services in schools to aid in supporting children. The book stated a shortage of school counselors. Put a program in place for drop and suicide prevention. Some main problems with dropouts, many do not have support at home, dealing with substance use in home, no parental support and many live in poverty. Youths need more than handouts and pamphlets; they need human connection and verbal support. We need to provide more education in theses area and engage the youth of today to help us find a solution. Personal involvement would make them feel useful and I believe would be very helpful in prevention.   

 

References  

McWhirter, J. J., McWhirter, B. T., McWhirter, E. H., McWhirter, R. J. (2012). At Risk Youth (5th ed.). Brooks/Cole.

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