The Student Stance: Violence not result of school neglect

The Southerner

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In light of the recent school shootings in Chardon, Ohio, Walpole, N.H. and Bremerton, Wash., it’s easy and understandable to get caught up in the “school shooting” frenzy. Many people have been under the impression that school violence is increasing because school security is decreasing. While these shootings are indeed tragic, they are not necessarily indicative of a growing trend in school violence. Killings on school grounds are rare, and overall violence in schools and the crime rate among students has been declining in recent years.

Between July 2009 and June 2010, there were 33 deaths at elementary, middle and high schools, either on campus or during a school event, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. While 33 school-related deaths in one year is definitely 33 too many, this is actually the lowest it has been in 18 years. In 2006, the number of school-related deaths per year peaked at 63. In fact, in-school homicides have consistently accounted for less than 2 percent of the total number of homicides among youth aged 5 to 18 in the United States since 1992. According to the study, crimes such as theft and assault have also decreased over the years. Obviously, something schools across the nation are doing is working, and that includes Grady.

While security precautions should be put in place to prevent violence and bullying, there is only so much our school can do. The aforementioned shootings were anomalies, and no school can anticipate and prepare for every anomaly that could happen. The best we can do is have enforceable security measures and try to promote tolerance and peace.

Currently, Grady has several police officers around the school, and when there is any kind of fight, administrators and teachers are not far behind to break it up. The penalty for fighting on school grounds or engaging in any kind of violent activity ranges from in-school suspension to expulsion, depending on the severity of the violence. Perhaps the metal detectors in the cafeteria need to be put to better use—and maybe fixed—and some of the teachers need to take the backpack check upon entering school more seriously, but at least we take these preventative measures. At least Grady recognizes the need for precautions like these to deter people from bringing weapons to school. Many schools where violence and bullying is more prevalent than at Grady do not even have some of the most basic safeguards in place.
Furthermore, the “no bullying” rally that took place in the courtyard a few weeks ago, the lessons and PowerPoints presented in advisement and the grade-wide assemblies about cyber-bullying are more testament to Grady’s efforts to inform students about violence and bullying. Informing students about the harmful effects of bullying is the first step towards curbing such issues.

To simply say that Grady’s ways are not effective in averting school violence and bullying is discrediting all the teachers, administrators and methods that are working hard each and every day to protect us. Grady had, has and will always have its students’ safety at heart.

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