(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right

Each One
“Each One” color pencil by Leron McAdoo

…reflecting on the need for more counselors in school by Stacey James McAdoo…

If all politics is local, the same is true for education.  I don’t know about the state of the youth in other communities, but in mine, almost half of the youth arrests are school-based arrests. Citywide (according to the 2017 Little Rock Police Department’s Annual Report), violent crime and aggravated assault are statistically the two highest-ranking forms of crime in the city.

It’s often said that violence is the lowest form of communication. If that is true, then we need to teach people how to communicate effectively. And we need counselors to help us do that. Every day children throw tantrums, harm themselves and get into fistfights because they don’t know how to process and/or articulate their wants and needs.

“Students’ social and emotional needs are just as important as their academic needs,” says Christie Thompson. “If students are food or housing insecure, have no meaningful connections with their peers, or dealing with personal/family problems, it’s hard for them to focus in school. Schools need more counselors to help address those needs,” she continued.

When I look back over my teaching career at the students that I’ve lost…either to the cracks of the educational system, jail, drugs or the streets…having more resources vs. armed resource officers would have made a more meaningful impact.

Shaily Mosby agrees, “We definitely need more counselors because kids need coping strategies and assistance dealing with all these issues they are faced with – not just punitive measures taken.”

In preparation for an education committee meeting, I asked my students to share with me some issues and concerns that they wanted me to voice on their behalf. I ended up with six pages of scribbled notes and quotes that I frantically wrote down as they shared.  “More counselors” was a repeated phrase in each class.

An outwardly bubbly, beautiful and brilliant student who has been hospitalized for suicidal tendencies said, “I wish schools would be more attentive to students. That they would see red flags sooner, talk more with students instead of calling our parents and help us problem solve.” Others added that we needed to talk more about mental health, relook at the availability and accessibility of counselors to students and make the school feel less prison-like by having fewer security guards.

We could get so many more things right in education if we merely took the time to listen to the heartbeat of our children.

Beautiful Music

(c) 2000 by Stacey James McAdoo

beautiful music

can be found

in any dark hue

if we take the time

to listen to the

heartbeat of our


if we take the time

to listen to the

heartbeat of our children

we’d discover

that harsh tones

and strange notes

are bittersweet

songs of struggle

for every heart

has a song to sing

and beautiful music

can be found

in any dark hue

if we take the time

to listen to the

heartbeat of our


* * *


Let a counselor know how much their work is valued by tagging them in the comments section below and/or sending them a thank you note.


*Stacey James McAdoo, the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year (affectionately referred to as 2019ATOY), is a 16 year Oral Communication instructor, AVID Coordinator and sponsor of the spoken word collective called Writeous Poets from Little Rock, Arkansas. She teaches at the historic Little Rock Central High School where she is the living embodiment of her ATOY platform of using passion and poetry to close the opportunity gap.*


4 thoughts on “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right

  1. Proactive rather than reactive! The development of a mind – a whole mind – requires us to teach communication, which affects a child’s state of learning….in my opinion! 😊


    1. Yes! I don’t know why after all these years we haven’t adhered to Frederick Douglas’ wise words, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”


  2. All facts!!! I’ve recently crossed paths with a young person who has been to jail multiple times for some of the simplest reasons. Those trips have set her back in ways that have made her question if she should keep fighting for the type of life she deserves. No one cared that she was barely a teenager but had the weight of the world on her shoulders. No one cared that she was trying to take care of a household and her siblings because her mom was struggling to get out of the bed each day. Thankfully, she hasn’t given up! It’s my hope that she continues to fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m liking your post and standing in agreement with you that the young lady you wrote about will continue to fight. If/when you see her again, please hug her for me and tell her that there’s a whole slew of people she’s never met that are rooting for her. Then show her my nephew’s “I’ve seen the future. We win shirt.” In fact, I’m going to call them and order us one!


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