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Monday, March 10, 2014

Adam Lanza: A victim of mainstreaming?

The New Yorker interviewed the Sandy Hook shooter's dad. The article had  many interesting insights.

What stood out to me was Adam's frustration with school. He was a decent student in elementary school, but declined in junior high and high school. Despite his failures, his mother persisted in keeping him in regular classes. This is a process known as "mainstreaming".

There are several reasons for mainstreaming, but the reason most often given is socialization. Many parents believe that relating to peers is the most important part of school, no matter how far off those children are from their so-called peers.

From the article, it is clear that Adam hated school and gained no benefit from it. And yet he was forced to attend to gain some illusory social benefit. What social benefit can be had if you are so different from those around you?

As a product (note the term) of public education, I can say with confidence that social skills you learn in school are very similar to the social skills you learn in prison. School is the worst place to learn about social skills. When I was in school, my main feelings were boredom, anger, and depression. I'm sure that many others felt the same.

The saddest part is that all of this could have been averted if Adam had not been forced into school. He clearly had some intelligence and would have found his own way. The biggest lie that is told to children is that good grades and getting along are crucial to their success and happiness.

The only lesson I can see is that if a child gets nothing from school, they should just leave.  

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