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.   


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Gilbert). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. “Youth Presentation” By Councilman Russell Gilbert and Marquez Thompson V. Ordinances – Final Reading : POLICE a. An ordinance to amend Chattanooga City Code, Part II, ... (click for more)

Bradley County Commission Agenda For Monday

Here is the Bradley County Commission agenda for Monday: 1.  Call to Order 2.  Pledge to the Flag 3.  Invocation – Terry Caywood 4.  Report from the County Mayor   5.  Reports from Committees and/or Districts 6.  New Business 7.  Communication from the Audience 8.  Announcements 9.  ... (click for more)

Roy Couldn't Possibly Be More Wrong - And Response (4)

Spreading false information isn't only harmful, as we've been made aware recently. The spread of false information can be outright dangerous.   Calling himself a Christian and all, Roy truly disappoints on so many levels with his recently opinion piece about black students attending predominately white schools being the cause of so much problems and grief at those schools. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Senseless Divide

If I could change one thing about the schools in Chattanooga, my wish would be that everybody could become good friends. I’m talking about the private schools versus the public schools. The rancor is so bad we hardly ever play in sports anymore and what the loathsome TSSAA has done in recent years to the out-numbered private schools is sinful. My dream would be that there would ... (click for more)

Hixson's Courtney Jones Headed To Hiwassee

Courtney Jones is almost finished with one important segment of her life and she's not wasting any time getting on with the next part. Jones is currently a senior at Hixson High School, but she will graduate next week and heading to Madisonville where she will be playing volleyball at the college level for the Hiwassee Lady Tigers. Jones has been an integral part of Hixson's ... (click for more)

Walker Valley, Soddy Daisy Big Mat Winners

The Walker Valley Mustangs recorded pins in the first five matches and never looked back as they beat host Ooltewah in a prep wrestling match Thursday evening by a resounding 61-12 final. The match began at 120 pounds and James Jur put his team ahead with a first-period pin.  Cameron Dwyer, Ethan West, Dillon Clark and Zeth Haynie followed with pins and it never got any ... (click for more)