I appreciate Ucedrah speaking out to the community ("COMMUNITY VOICES: Schools must value and mentor our students, not punish and discard them," Sept. 1). Her life experience has brought an insight to the growing unrest not only in our schools, but country as well.

I beg to differ with the responsibilities though. Family and parental guidance is first and foremost No. 1 step in preparing our children for the future. To make the schools responsible for the success and failure is not seeing the entire picture.

I agree with mentorship for students in need, and where do we find good mentors? At home, church, school, business, etc. Respect will get respect. If disrespect is rampant, we change that at home. Sure the districts can help, but to leave them as responsible is unrealistic and unfair.

Not all students want a higher education. Many would just like to get through high school and maybe choose to become a craftsman. Everyone needs someone to care about succeeding in their life's journey, but to make that fall totally into the hands of the school is wrong. Help is available to those who look for it. Look, find and change - this seems to me to sum up our own personal responsibilities - not placing blame on someone else. The headline of the Community Voices piece has great merit, but it takes all of us to go "all-in."

Michelle Claxton, Bakersfield