The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Is Common Roots forgetting its roots?

Students face some sort of stress or tension every day. Whether it’s from classes, a fight with a friend or not having a place to sit with friends at lunch, our lives aren’t peachy 100 percent of the time.

To help cope with difficulties, we have had somewhere to go and connect with our peers, make friends and find our place — Common Roots, right?

This year, though, another group called Sources of Strength has come into the picture with the mission of improving the suicide prevention through training Common Roots members, but some students are wondering whether Common Roots will lose its current niche.

On its website, Common Roots says that it is “less about counseling and more about spreading a positive environment throughout our school.” The professional work is left to an adult-run organization on campus: Counseling and Support Services For Youth (CASSY).

For its part, Sources of Strength has succeeded at schools like Gunn High School by creating the Reach-Out-Care-Know peer counseling program (ROCK) and has had positive results in suicide prevention, as peer counselors had extensive training from adults. ROCK was created in response to a series of suicides at the school.

Although it seems Common Roots will not be replaced by Sources of Strength, there will be plenty of changes. The major difference Sources of Strength brings to Saratoga High’s existing program is that now there will be more adult intervention in the form of training sessions from Sources of Strength staff members and a teacher recommendation prerequisite to become a peer advisor in the new group.

But this raises the question: If the point of Common Roots is to spread a positive environment throughout our school, why are we even bringing adults into the picture?

Before, Common Roots was a place for students to meet others their own age, so that they could relate to each other and have their own niche at the school.

The problem that exists is not a question of whether peers have had the ability to counsel — which seems to be the reason for implementing Sources of Strength — but rather that students aren’t going there to get counseling. Instead, students go to Common Roots simply to connect and find a support system.

To be fair, it isn’t hard to imagine the reason for bringing in Sources of Strength to the school. Instead of developing suicide counseling ad hoc, it does make sense to build it up over the years, so that it can be available when necessary and contribute to the school’s culture.

A viable solution could be to have Common Roots with Sources of Strength serve two distinct purposes — there would be a place to build friendships and a separate place to receive peer counseling. The concern with integrating Sources of Strength into Common Roots is that the idea of counseling may pull Common Roots away from its current niche of being mostly a support network.

Common Roots is a perfectly good group that already serves a vital role, and it should remain firmly fixed to this mission.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Saratoga Falcon

Your donation will support the student journalists of Saratoga High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Saratoga Falcon

Comments (0)

All The Saratoga Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *