Thursday, November 1, 2007

What Can Be Done to Enforce Safety in Public Schools?

This past Wednesday, a Stony Point High School student was arrested for carrying nine knifes to school. Although his intentions were proven pure, the question still arises.... What can be done in order to further protect out students? When conducting an internet search of 2007 School Stabbings, more than half a million articles appear. As I read through the different articles, it is apparent that youth violence is on the rise, especially within the schools' doors. As I have toured many High Schools in the local area, there are still many without metal detectors and many more without security guards in the huge parking lots or in the hallways during and between class hours. I, personally, believe that our school districts should be providing proper funding allocated specifically for the protection and security of the students. There should be metal detectors at each entry door to the school and there should be security guards circulating the hallways and parking lots. I also believe that there should be hot-line numbers where people could call and report suspicious activity or illegal carrying of dangerous objects to school authorities without having to give a name. Those hot-line numbers should be made easily assessable to all students. I also believe that school doors should be locked within five minutes after the bell rings for classes to start. During the day, all doors should remained locked from the outside, with the exception of the front entry doors located by the office. This would assist in preventing outsiders, with a motive to harm, from entering the building unnoticed. Another topic worth addressing is the ability and allowance of students to carry cell phones while on school premises. I believe there should be rules and boundaries around the use of cell phones at school. For instance, the student should not be allowed to text or call any person unless it is a justified emergency. There should be consequences and punishments established for students who choose to violate those rules. But, I believe that students should be able to carry cell phones with them in the case of emergencies. In this day in time, there have been many schools that have had terrorist or shootings, and the use of a cell phone could become essential in the protection of the students. Recently, I watched details of a tragic event unfold on the Today Show. A girl was at school when a deranged boy interrupted the class and decided to hold a few of the students hostage (including the girl), threatening to kill them if they did not meet his demands. The girl somehow managed to reach her cell phone and text her parents a simple "I love you both." The standoff between the student and the police lasted for several hours. The boy killed all of the female students. The girl's parents were thankful for their daughter's last words. I truly believe that there should be some more preventative actions in place in the school district, as well as rules and consequences when those establishments are abused.

4 comments:

Crystal said...

I personally believe with almost everything she says. She makes great points about how to keep public schools safe. One thing that I do not think would work though, is locking the doors inbetween classes. The high school that I attended was split into different buildings so if a student had to go to another class, they had to walk outside.

I agree that there should be metal detectors, but I do not think that it would work very well in certain schools because there are numerous entrances and the public school system cannot afford to purchase 20 for each school. I also agree with the author that cell phones need ot be allowed; not to call and text during classes, but in case of emergencies. I believe that the administrators should allow the phones to be turned on, but be on silent. In an emergency, every second matters. When a cell phone is off and has to be turned on, it takes up to a minute. That could be the difference between life and death.

In the high school I attended, we had a local police officer on the campus most of the time, but when he wasn't there, anything could have happened. In most schools, they have lockdowns to search for drugs, alcohol, and weapons. I think these searches are justified and help keep students from bringing illegal things to a place that should be safe. But, what I think is rediculous is that people can get in trouble for having a couple black-cat firecrackers loose in their vehicle or even a couple loose bullets that fell out when they were hunting. Just because they have a couple loose bullets, I don't think that they should get in trouble. People acutally use their vehicles for more things than just driving to school and home. I do not think that a person should be punished for having loose bullets or minor firecrackers in their vehicle (as long as there is nothing else that could be used with the other items found to hurt someone).

I just wish that when a student goes to school, they could feel safe. Now days, there aren't many places people can feel safe, but schools should be a place where children can.

SARAH HILBIG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SARAH HILBIG said...

After reading an article posted in a classmate’s blog, “The Second Hand from Desiree,” I felt it was important to discuss why a law hasn’t already been enforced to keep public schools safe. In order to reduce the risk of major tragedies happening within the schools, something needs to be done and I don’t feel that it takes a genius to figure out what that something is. What I don’t understand is why it seems that in order for something to get noticed that needs serious attention, a tragedy has to occur before anyone reacts to the situation. If we already know that a location is dangerous, then it should be taken care of and not have any safety issues in the first place to prevent anything terrible from occurring. For instance, a major intersection that is obviously very dangerous that does not have traffic lights might take years and many fatalities later before those lights are put in to help reduce car accidents.

This leads me to what you get when you google school shootings. There are pages of school history reports that show all the disasters and massacres in public Schools and Universities that have happened over the years. In 1927, the Bath school disaster, in 1966, the university of Texas massacre, in 1999, the Columbine High school massacre, and most recent in 2007, the Virginia Tech massacre. So, what is the hold up, there is plenty of history showing that schools are not safe and what has happened in the past does not need to be repeated. Therefore, something needs to be done to keep weapons out of schools. An article reads that after the columbine shooting, the massacre provoked debate regarding gun control laws, the availability of firearms in the United States, and gun violence involving youths. There also was increased emphasis on school security, the gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressants by teenagers, violent films and music, teenage internet use, and violent video games. The word that caught my attention was debate, but was anything done after the debate to make sure that a school massacre never happened again.

I recently graduated from high school and I am currently walking the halls at ACC to go from class to class and I see nothing being done to keep the school safe. I do believe metal detectors should be placed in front of every entrance to the school and there should be security guards throughout the inside and around the outside of the school premises. Not just one guard hanging out somewhere and not just a cop car circling the parking lot. I think that whatever the student is carrying should be searched through. Whether it is a backpack or a tote bag, a guard should make sure that there are no weapons inside the book bags. I know that many would say that is against privacy rules, but it might be the only way to really make sure that nothing is getting through the metal detectors and inside the school. The hot-line number for students to call in case of any kind of emergency is a good idea and will provide the students with security if they know they can contact someone right away. Cell phones should be allowed without question, however students need to have respect and only use them for emergency related issues. If a law is placed among the school districts stating that every school follows the rules when it comes to security and metal detectors, then I think schools would consist of a safe atmosphere for the students to learn in. The stories I have read about tragic events in public schools and universities are very sad and I hope that the government makes safety throughout schools a priority so that all students are protected. Education is important, but being safe while gaining an education is more important.

Elyssa Gonzales said...

According to a query I pulled from the CDC database--with the latest data being from 2004--there were a total of 404 violence related injury deaths in Texas from age 0-19. More than half of the deaths came from males aged 15-19, totaling 231 for that year.**

Of that, 9 were from stabbings. Of the total number of deaths, 21 were from being stabbed.** The numbers are showing that although there is a problem (meaning any stat that shows more than zero deaths), I wouldn’t hire a bodyguard for my kids just yet.

Instead of heightened security in the schools, let’s focus on legislation that enacts tougher laws for parents who do not know how to discipline their children. Spending our tax dollars on parenting classes instead of security guards that are only allowed to hold a flashlight would be an option that I think would show more results. Expensive metal detectors would create long lines to get into school and possibly make one late. Some people cannot come earlier because most students rely on transportation that is out of their control like their parents.

Hot line numbers are made available to kids, especially in high school where violence is more prevalent than in middle or elementary school. http://www.austincrimestoppers.org/ has two hotline numbers: 512-472-TIPS and 1-800-893-TIPS. They are posted in bulletin boards all over schools. In addition to this, there are even clubs throughout the school districts.

Locking the door seems fair, but I believe that outsiders for the most part aren’t the problem. There are teachers and principals roaming the halls to make sure there is no trouble and visitors are required to wear visitor badges. Also, a lot of school policies have it so that cell phones are allowed in school; they just have to be off until your lunch period or after school. For example, Austin High School’s policy listed on their website.

**Charts for this data is in my site:

http://look-through-the-window.blogspot.com