A Look Into School Safety
By Jon Arndt, Drew Smith, and Connor Weismandel
A Rising Problem
Students and parents thoughts
by Jon Arndt
Research has shown that the higher incidence of bullying there is present in a school setting, the more uncomfortable students feel. This is believed to be associated with a lack of teacher support and competence within schools. Students look up to teachers to protect them, especially at a young age. There have also been studies that show that as a school has more broken windows, broken desks, and fighting among students the more students and parents feel uncomfortable about the school's safety. Parents and students can see, or believe there to be, a higher sense of anarchy and lack of discipline at the school. If the teachers can not stop their own students from fighting, how would they protect them if someone were to break in? And the final piece of research also shows a correlation between academic performance and perceived school safety, which would say that poor, academically challenged schools are seen as more unsafe than schools in richer suburbs. This is quite evident in our everyday thoughts, in that if you are able to move to the suburbs to a nice neighborhood and good school you would also be safer.
- Beran, T. N., and L. Tutty. "Children's Reports of Bullying and Safety at School."Canadian Journal of School Psychology 17.2 (2002): 1-14. Print.
- Kitsantas, A. "Students' Perceptions of School Safety:: Effects by Community, School Environment, and Substance Use Variables." The Journal of Early Adolescence 24.4 (2004): 412-30. Print.
- Milam, A. J., C. D. M. Furr-Holden, and P. J. Leaf. "Perceived School and Neighborhood Safety, Neighborhood Violence and Academic Achievement in Urban School Children." The Urban Review 42.5 (2010): 458-67. Print.
Trained and Responsible Educators
by Drew Smith
We live in a world where school violence makes the news at least twice a month. It's a problem that has been growing since the late 1990s, when Columbine was thrown in the face of the public via the media. Students ransacking their places of education with semi-automatic and automatic weapons, capable of achieving a high fire rate, destroyed the will of a community. Two guys strapped with enough ammo for a small army savagely took lives during school hours. We all know what happened then, and even more recently with the slew of school shootings that are making the news.
There have been voices for action across the nation, and for good reason; enough is enough, and something must be done to stop people from coming into a school and killing as many people as they can. The one practical solution that nobody talks about, or is scared to, is arming the teachers.
As a society, we should want to stand up and stop the violence of these psychopaths in its footsteps. It is understood that strapping teachers with guns might seem "radical" but something radical needs to be done. After the campus shootings at Virginia Tech, it was reported that from the start of the shooting to the first emergency responder's arrival on campus was around 15 minutes. This amount of time is entirely too long.
Teachers and school employees trained extensively with a pistol, and carrying those pistols (or at least have them closeby) should be an option any school district that demands student safety should look into.
Safety Regulations in Our Schools
It is important to see that our school systems today are not as safe as we would like. Over the past couple of years we have had many different acts of violence occur in our schools. We must find ways to enhance our safety in our schools so that our children can feel and be safe. There have been improvements over the years, but we want to continue to make sure our schools stay as safe as can be.
There have been several steps in the right direction into making our schools safer, like the SAVE Act. This Act requires school districts to have teams to develop district wide and building-level school safety plans. This will give our schools a more planned approach to know what to do in vital situations. Schools will be more prepared on what they need to do and who they will need to contact in case of an emergency. The building-level school safety plans will allow us to safely evacuate students, faculty, and staff. They will also enact drills and other exercises to test their emergency plans. This Act has played a major role in making sure our schools are as prepared as possible.
Schools are also trying to get their students involved in Civic Action Projects. This allows the students to have the opportunity to get involved in their community. Schools feel that when students are more involved in their community, the acts of violence will decrease. Students should want to help out in their community and in doing so, would see that violence is not the answer. Civic Action Projects keep students occupied and gives them a chance to give back to the community. Teachers are able to unite the classroom and try and bring the whole community together. This is a method that schools are using in order to be proactive and to try and avoid violence altogether.
It is important to make sure our students stay involved in and outside of the classroom in the right way. Our teachers need to be in control of any bullying that happens in the classroom. Almost 30% of our students are involved in bullying either as a bully, a target, or both (Safe Schools). Bullying is a gateway to violence and we want our students to respect and care for one another so that we can keep the peace in our schools. Another issue that tends to lead to violence in our schools are gangs. This is where trying to keep our students involved comes into play. We want to make sure we keep our students safe from the gang life. Trying to get students involved in after school activities is a good way to keep them from trying to join gangs. Our schools need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to prevent bullying and gangs because they are a huge factor into violence in our schools.
2. "Implementing a Civic Action Project - Constitutional Rights Foundation."Implementing a Civic Action Project - Constitutional Rights Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2014. <http://www.crf-usa.org/school-violence/implementing-a-civic-action-project.html>.