Letter: First selectman disconnected from Trumbull youth

To the Editor:

First and foremost, congratulations Trumbull High and Saint Joseph graduates of Class 2015. I am a twenty-two year old Trumbull High and University of Connecticut Alumni and think it’s important to address a few concerning issues with the Commencement Addresses being put forth at your school’s graduation ceremonies.

First Selectman Timothy Herbst’s speech this year is on the topic of “the dangers of social media, which has fostered, in his opinion, a completely uncivil society.” I am writing this editorial NOT to undermine the potential dangers of social media if abused, but the disconnection the First Selectman’s Administration has with the issues prevailing the youth in Trumbull, as well as communities across the nation. It may be wise to mention “civility in social media” in other settings as a supplemental education course, but using it as the platform of a commencement address is erroneous. I am afraid our town’s leadership yet again fails to truly connect and relate to my generation’s indisputable problems.

As many Trumbull Citizens have heard through word of mouth or official outlets, we have lost another teenager to drug abuse as recently as last week. My deepest condolences go out to his family and others who have faced similar struggles. People I personally know have fallen victim to drug abuse and it is a long and difficult road to recovery from rock bottom. Our town administration doesn’t understand the difficulties of peer pressure, troubled family backgrounds, wealth inequalities and fear of the future, which the youth in this town bear on their shoulders every single day. Trumbull High has never been faced with worst societal and drug related problems than they do in 2015. The youth of Trumbull look to leaders in our community, family and friends for help with the hard issues that press them daily. Fear of being admitted to college, paying over bearing student loans, separation from family and friends and hoping their careers materialize the way they envisioned, are just a few examples of the real problems teenagers face. A commencement address should always have its core audience in mind and in heart.

Our First Selectman’s decision to use recent politically driven matters of contention on social media as a commencement address, fail to reach eye level with our youth, in more than one way. The commencement address at both schools echoes the same core audience: Not the students graduating, but the parents in the stands behind them. Why must it be so difficult for our community’s politicians to understand and emphasize with problems the youth face instead? Trumbull’s Administration should prioritize finding ways to protect children and teens as they go through their most difficult and crucial part of their lives.

Finding ways to relate to students in schools, reaching those who show signs of desperation, and cracking down on drug abuse are the most important concerns. I would hope plenty of parents in Trumbull can come to terms with those predominant issues as well, and the First Selectman take our youth's current problems seriously in his future commencement addresses. We need our communities help, now more than ever, in order to secure a bright future for our generation.

JT Georgas