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Prison-like Schools in South LA Make Kids Depressed

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Photo by Steven Fernandez via Flickr

The results of a recent survey administered in seven public schools in South Los Angeles are downright depressing. Students feel scared, unmotivated, unsupported, and ignored, and it's causing many to experience the symptoms of clinical depression. Administrators and psychologists agree, noting that the multiple killings of youth in the community leaves a pall on the students, and that their choice to skip school because they are "tired, had trouble sleeping, felt helpless or hopeless, were bored or felt lazy" is to be expected. With schools a reflection of a depressive environment, it's no wonder their students are sad.

6,008 students were surveyed in schools that "are among the lowest performing in the Los Angeles Unified School District and are in an area where dissatisfaction with the traditional public school system is driving many students into charter schools," reports the LA Times. Kids attested to feeling like the system was failing them, and that they lacked real choices for college-prep curriculum. The results indicate that "many students in some of the city's poorest, most violent neighborhoods believe their schools set the bar for success too low -- and then shove students beneath it."

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Perhaps in alignment with what some surveyed believe is the society's expectation for them, students also expressed negativity towards the actual structure of their school, saying they look more like prisons. With the state government now pulling funding out of the public education pot, the conditions at these and other schools, seem unlikely to see major changes in the near future, making the charter schools an increasingly more desirable option. But if the school is just one reflection of the community at large, it may also be vital to step back even farther from the symptoms and do far more to address the problems.