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: AKINS, MARY ELIZABETH  500 16TH ST NORTH EAST FORT PAYNE, 35967  Age at Arrest: 31 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION ( DRIVING ON REVOKED) VIOLATION OF PROBATION ( FAILURE TO MAINTAIN LANE) VIOLATION OF PROBATION ( THEFT UNDER 500 ) VIOLATION OF PROBATION ( POSSESSION ... (click for more)

Operators Of McDonald Farm In Sale Creek Evaluating When It Will Re-Open After Fire

Officials at McDonald Farm in Sale Creek are evaluating when it will reopen after its large barn was destroyed by fire on Sunday morning. Officials said, "Due to a fire in our main equipment barn, McDonald Farm had to close Sunday. We are currently evaluating when we will be able to re-open. "Thanks to everyone for your outpouring of support and well wishes. It has truly been ... (click for more)

Ole Man River Just Keeps Rollin

Citizens are hearing yet another new chapter in Chattanooga’s 21st Century Riverfront concrete repair saga. It seems it will require more repair, more delays and more tax dollars to do it. When will it end? Construction of the Riverfront concrete structures began in 2003. Before it was finished, designers, engineers, contractors, Public Works officials, Mayor Littlefield and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It Was Our Tool Shed

Some said the huge beams had been soaking in creosote for two or three years when the men finally stacked them to dry. They were long, about 20 feet each, and thick – maybe eight inches. I remember they were 14 inches wide but the biggest thing I remember was that it was the ugliest lumber I ever saw. They cured the beams for one entire hot summer in the Tool Shed, a huge building ... (click for more)

Sale Creek Comes Back To Beat Silverdale For 3-A Volleyball Crown

It's been an incredible run for the Silverdale Lady Seahawks in recent days as they shocked everyone except themselves by winning the District 5-A volleyball tournament last week. They entered as the third-seeded team before knocking off number-two Boyd-Buchanan in the semifinals and then top-seeded Grace in the final. That run of good fortune continued at Sale Creek's McEwen ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Makes Short Work Of White County In 3-3A Volleyball

Ooltewah had one goal going into Monday night’s Region 3-3A volleyball tournament match against White County. Don’t mess this up. The Lady Owls, shooting for their third regional championship in four years, never wavered in thrashing the outmanned Warriorettes, 3-0, and advanced to Tuesday’s championship match against the Walker Valley. Game scores bear out the one-sided ... (click for more)