If any other activity was this directly connected to increasing the teen mortality rate, it would be illegal:
Every two hours, a teenager in America takes his or her own life. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth, and the rate of teen suicide has roughly tripled since 1960…. Scientists have identified many contributing factors: Discrimination, the number of sexual partners, substance abuse, being dumped by a romantic partner, parental divorce, child physical and sexual abuse, bullying and even excessive video-gaming play a role. Scholars at the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center have offered a novel contributing factor to teen suicide: high school.
In a careful and persuasive paper released last fall called “Back to School Blues: Seasonality of Youth Suicide and the Academic Calendar,” Benjamin Hansen and Matthew Lang point out that suicides for 14- to 18-year-olds drop abruptly during June, July and August.
“The decrease in suicides for 14- to 18-year-olds during the summer months is stark, while the 19- to 25-year-olds see a slight rise in suicide rates during the summer,” the authors point out. “The fact that 15- to 18-year-old suicide rates decrease in the summer, but the 19-year-old suicide does not, suggests that the high-school calendar is playing a prominent role in youth suicide,” they conclude.
Given that the summer vacation reduces the teen suicide rate from 6.22 per 100,000 to 4.71, this means that banning public school would save 1,092 lives per year. This is far more lives than can be saved by most of the usual actions advocated by the save-the-children crowd. Since we are so often told that various laws are justified if just one child’s life is saved, and we also know that homeschooling is an academically superior method of education, how can anyone possibly argue in good conscience that eliminating the public schools is not an imminent moral imperative?
Banning public school will save more children’s lives on an annual basis than every vaccination program put together, in fact, it would save more children’s lives than seatbelt laws and child safety seats. Banning public school, or at least barring public school attendance after sixth grade, would reduce the third leading cause of youth death by 25 percent. And let’s face it, it’s not as if they’re even learning how to read or do math there anyhow.