Of all the ridiculous trends that need to go out with 2016, one of the worst is safe spaces featuring coloring books for college students. Any time something adverse might melt the poor snowflakes of liberal academia, it seems that administrators’ first reaction is to break out the crayons and go full-on infantile.
However, we usually expect this from small liberal arts schools or liberal state universities. The Virginia Military Institute? Not so much.
That’s why we were shocked to hear that they were offering such therapy to their cadets — and even more shocked to hear a four-star general defending it.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, VMI superintendent J. H. Binford Peay III, the retired general in question, said that the coloring books were part of the institute’s “behavioral health program” and defended their use.
“The Virginia Military Institute is committed to the well-being of all VMI cadets, faculty, staff and our employees while adhering to the requirements of our rigorous, tough, Spartan environment,” a statement from Gen. Peay read. “VMI continues to have one of the hardest four year academic, physical and discipline experiences in the nation.”
“The reality is that suicide rates and mental health issues continue to be on the rise, particularly for young adults,” he said. “While our losses in cadets, staff, faculty, and employees over my 14-year tenure have been small … and one is too many … VMI has not been exempt from these tragedies.”
“VMI believes it is appropriate and has a responsibility to expose our cadets to a various set of life skills, including methods of dealing with the implications associated with substance abuse, depression, nutrition, sleep deprivation, stress and anxiety,” the general added.
Fox News reported that it was part of “stress busters” program that included yoga classes, as well.
A statement on VMI’s website, previously reported on by the Washington Free Beacon, described what “stress busters” would entail.
“Stress Busters is held on Reading Day of each semester,” the website said. “This is an opportunity for cadets to unwind and relax before studying for finals. This event often includes stress reduction activities such as yoga, therapy dogs, coloring book stations, card/game stations, and grab-and-go snacks to take with you on your way to study!”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the school took down the page because, as a VMI spokesman said, it was attracting “more attention than was necessary.” (When you see “was necessary,” you should probably read “we would like.”)
I understand that mental health is an important issue, especially for those who are in or entering the military. We’ve seen far too many of our servicemen and servicewomen commit suicide.
I do not believe, however, that the infantilization of anyone — much less of men and women who are possibly going to combat zones to serve this country — significantly helps mental health. Moreover, for the rare person that does require de-stressing through coloring books, I would point out that the books and the necessary implements are probably available at any number of local retail establishments and do not need to be pushed on students by educators trying out fad treatments.
Battles do not stop for coloring breaks with juice and cookies. VMI educators — and especially Gen. Peay — should realize this.
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