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In the film “Race to Nowhere,” first-time filmmaker Vicki Abeles delves into the issues of the consequences of overscheduled children.  The film was recently shown at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh to a crowd of parents, teachers and kids.

The medical and emotional problems of Ms Abeles own three children spurred her to find out what is going on in the world of our kids. Through interviews of kids, their teachers and parents and other professionals, she asks whether our kids are being pressured by too much homework and over scheduling.  

Many professionals interviewed, from educators to physicians, suggest that our kids are so stressed that they have no time to just be kids.  Clubs. Practice. Homework. Community Volunteering. Does it leave children time to ride a bike, have fun running around or to do nothing?  

Although the film brought to light many important issues, it tried to cover them all with one broad brush. For example, Abeles asks several teachers about their role in the classroom and gets the classic “I am being encouraged to teach kids how to pass tests.”  From that the filmmaker leaps to teaching for tests encourages too much homework which causes too much pressure on our kids which leads to stomachaches and headaches. For me there were just too many leaps.

According to Mount Professor and Hudson Valley Parent columnist, Paul Schwartz, “The greatest stressors for kids, especially for teens, are relationships not the stress of school.” Dr. Schwartz says that 90% of kids love what they are doing, including school.

Teens often do wacky things in order to express their individuality. This can come in the form of dyed blue hair, changing up their wardrobe, or piercings. However, what happens when these things go against your child’s school dress code. Ariana Iacono is a 14-year-old from North Carolina and has a small stud nose piercing. This piercing which was put in for “religious purposes” has caused her to be suspended from her school. Ariana says she belongs to the Church of Body Modification. You can barely see the piercing in the picture included in this article from the TODAY Show. Is this piercing worth being suspended over?

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