Parents Of Westview School Vandal Describe History Of Mental Illness

Friday, August 15, 2014

The parents of a 22-year-old man caught inside a heavily-vandalized Westview Elementary School in a public letter have outlined his lifetime of what they called mental illness.

Michael and Laura Roden, who adopted Aaron Roden when he was three weeks old, said he was an "angry" child during his early years at school.

They say it was in middle school "when hell came to visit." They said he became "defiant and unmanageable."

The parents said he was sent to a wilderness school and to counseling, but it did not help. They said he has never had a full mental evaluation because insurance would not pay for it.

The Rodens said after he left home he got into more trouble and was incarcerated for a year. They said he was such a problem in jail that he was put into solitary confinement.

Ms. Roden said, "An estimated 30 percent of the inmate population in this country suffer from mental health issues, but rather than treat them, our society has chosen to warehouse them for awhile and then put them back on the streets to repeat the cycle. The total inadequacy and callousness of the health insurance industry in regards to mental health treatment compounds the problem.

"Aaron is bright and personable, and was trying very hard to put his past behind him and start a new life. He had moved to Chattanooga and had enrolled to start college. He was looking forward to the future. However, a series of events over the past two weeks caused him to spiral downward again, and we have been told he attempted to take his own life by overdosing.

"Our son is not a criminal. Our son has an illness that needs to be properly assessed, diagnosed and treated, just like any other. Society's fear, shame and otherwise inability to deal with mental health illness has been devastating to our country. Each time Aaron is sent away, we experience a "death." but with the added terror that this dreaded cycle will repeat again and again.

"We love our son. Aaron is 22 and should have a long life ahead of him. He has many of the tools to be a successful adult and productive citizen. We would have thought that would be what society would want. It is our prayer that he gets the treatment he needs. We ask for your prayers as well."

Michael Roden is an assistant district attorney in Nashville.   


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, EDWARD HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 37410 52 Chattanooga PUBLIC INTOXICATION BEENE, JENNIFER LENA 4717 ELDRIDGE ROAD HIXSON, 37343 30 Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE DRIVING ON ROADWAYS LANED FOR TRAFFIC, VIOLATION LIGHT LAW VIOLATION RESISTING ARREST OR OBSTRUCTION OF LEGAL ... (click for more)

Corker Gives Statement On White House Veto Threat Against Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Of 2015

Senator Bob Corker made the following statement regarding the White House’s  threat  of a presidential veto against his bipartisan bill requiring congressional review of any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. "It is disappointing that the president feels he is the only one who speaks for the citizens of our country," said Senator Corker. "Congress put these ... (click for more)

We Ought To Pay Our Own Way

The government is too big. It has never been bigger - by any measure. It spends more money than any other single actor in our society. From Blue Rhinos to providing telecommunications services, our government knows no bounds. We’ve gone from a free enterprise system to a public enterprise system.  I'm not an artist. I'm not terribly tech savvy. The part of government that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)

Henderson's Heroics Lead Warrors Past Bears, 53-45

Kordell Stewart’s broad shoulders were more than enough to carry his White County teammates on a mind-boggling, second-half offensive assault rarely seen on basketball courts in the Chattanooga area, or anywhere else for that matter. Henderson scored White County’s first 16 points of the second half and powered the District 6-AAA champion Warriors to a 53-45 come-from-behind ... (click for more)

Brainerd, Central Boys Advance To Region 3-AA Hoop Finals

LOUDON, Tenn. -- Brainerd won both regular-season matchups while Central won at the Best of Preps third-place consolation game before capturing the District 6-AA title last week at Red Bank. The season tally is now two wins each against each other and now they are ready for Round 5 following the Region 3-AA semifinals here at Loudon High School Saturday afternoon. Brainerd ... (click for more)