I have no doubt it's the school, backed up by the parents, that tells you that you must go to college. But the school only provides opportunities for pressure, for the most part it's others who apply that pressure.
That's why I get fired up when people talk about the school when kids kill themselves:
His death is one of six apparent suicides at Fairfax’s W.T. Woodson High School during the past three years, including another student found dead the next day. The toll has left the school community reeling and prompted an urgent question: Why would so many teens from a single suburban school take their lives?I don't think it's the school. I think it's the community.
“There is too much stress in my life from school and the environment it creates, expectations for sports, expectations from my friends and expectations from my family,” Jack wrote. He ended with a simple: “Goodbye.”School is the focus of a teenager's life. Perhaps we need to clarify what is meant by "the school". When I use that term, in general I'm referring to the adults who run it as opposed to the students who inhabit it. Jack's list above indicates to me that school was a nexus for expectations from everybody in his life, not just the adults at his school.
Many wonder if there is a common thread. A number of parents and students said they worry about the fierce competition for limited spots in the state’s prestigious public university system.This college arms race has got to stop. We, the adults at school as well as the adults in the community, have got to stop insinuating, or even saying outright, that if you don't get into such-and-such a university, or any university at all, you won't be successful in life. We've got to stop this masquerade of "college and career prep" wherein everyone has to go to some type of college, and some have to go to a Tier 1 school or be left behind. That last one falls firmly on "the school's" shoulders
Kids get involved in that arms race because of adults. Adults can look around all day and try to figure out why kids are killing themselves, but in this community it seems clear to me that the answer lies in the mirror.
Hat tip to Joanne Jacobs.