Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sad Irony

In a sad twist of fate, shortly after writing this post, I arrived at work Thursday morning to learn of yet another suicide. Unfortunately, I've had some dealings with this particular individual in the case so I know he was a very angry kid. I also knew the moment he was flown back up here from Iqaluit that it was a big mistake. When I first learned that a judge had ordered him sent back, my room mate turned to me during a conversation and said, "You know Darcy, I think someone has just made a BIG mistake." I was in full agreement. But, as I've said before, I'm just a worker bee, so what do I know? All I know is that there will be a funeral here in town today when there really shouldn't be.

I'll save the long diatribe against the level of social services in the territory here for another time. Now just isn't the time or place. Suffice it to say that alarm bells should be ringing somewhere. Is anybody listening? Does anyone even care?? As a government mandarin I find myself growing increasingly frustrated and saddened with all these big long-range plans. In 5 years, the education system will be doing this. By the year blah-blah-blah, Social Services will be doing this. Yay. As I always ask, and no one answers, when I hear this typical government tripe, is what is was being done NOW? How do all your big fancy government pie-in-the-sky fantasies help the young people already in the system?

There needs to be less reliance on what government can do and more focus on what people can do. Obviously, the government is failing. Time for bureaucrats to get the hell out of the way so we can get down to real work, rather than drooling over fancily-printed plans that usually don't accomplish a whole lot. I don't want to paint a picture that there is complete helplessness. There is the realization that something has to happen. I can give you two recent examples, fittingly from my students, the young people that will soon inherit this mess.

Recently, Nunavut celebrated its 10th anniversary as a territory. One of the contests that was organized was a writing contest where students were asked to write how they viewed Nunavut in another 10 years from now. The winning high school entry was from a student who saw things as getting worse. Rather than blaming one single group as I am so often used to seeing however, she blamed EVERYONE. Everyone has a role to play.

As I was walking home from work yesterday, a student of mine caught up to me on his 4-wheeler. Our conversation went something like this:

"Darcy, did you hear about _________?"
"Yeah, not a good thing."
"I don't like this. Way too young. Way before his time."
"I know. It's just sad isn't it?"
"Something has to change. It has to start now. I'm tired of this."

I'm tired too. So let's change this. But change only happens when people believe its possible. If there's one thing I've spent the last 6 years doing is drilling into my students' heads it's that change IS possible. It is. It really is. So my students know this. So let's together get this done. Make the change. It CAN happen.


meredith said...

Darcy - I feel your frustration! I have lost far too many former students this past year that when I think about it, it makes me sick.
You're so right - change is not going to happen from the gov. but too many people have their heads in the sand. Last september I took in a kid from La Loche that I thought needed a break etc - needless to say it ended worst than I thought. I handled some things badly but, I know one day I will get a call that he's dead or in jail :(. I am not sure how it happened but, somehow I am not as strong as I used to be.

Allmycke said...

Very well written.
Let's hope the girl who wrote the essay will eventually find herself in a position where she can effect change the way she wants.
I have also lost students to suicide, but not anywhere near the numbers you experience in the north. Stay strong and keep telling your students that change IS possible.

Anonymous said...

why don't you write a letter to the Nunatsiaq News about this ( i'm not sure your blog is widely read and suicide is an issue that needs to be spoken about. you can always ask for your name to be withheld.

Way Way Up said...

An excellent idea, Anonymous. I think I will heed your advice and follow up on that.