Laton Utah

Give Me Education or Give Me Death... Or Both

Sexual assault, drugs, and guns are very prominent in the most unexpected places. Schools. These dangerous situations are going to destroy America's future if nothing is done.

Jack Martin, President of The Martin Group and retired Chief of School Police says there are three reasons why school security fails: “It can’t happen here.” “We can’t afford it.” “We don’t have the time to do all that.” Safety in schools affects everyone whether it is indirect or direct. Schools mold our youth into the people our Country needs to stay on top and grow. Schools are not safe enough for the future of America and we must fix that.

In today’s society children are expected to get an education so they can have a productive life. When it comes to education the status quo, including myself, take to public schools in their areas for this essential part of life. Public schools are funded by the government and that means the government regulates and makes sure that schools are doing their duty to their students. But what happens if the single most important duty is being broken and it’s not because of the actual school. Schools and colleges must keep students safe so that they can have the chance to learn but that is not happening because there are not strict enough rules for safety.

Of course when you add safety you add more work. Safety is something our society has become lazy to. There is no other way around it because of the state of human nature. We only do what we have to do and that makes the only way to make something safe is to make it required. If we required searches after students showed signs of dangerous actions or if we introduced regulations that required searches or punishments when students did wrong things we would have safety because the main problem of laziness would be thrown away. These lazy behaviors leave us with guns, drugs, homicide, and sexual assault in schools. These results are absolutely disturbing because of the nasty effects that they leave.

While schools have grown lazy they still have some standards which are good but could be better. One of the better standards is the search standard in schools, schools are allowed to do searches based on reasonable suspicion instead of probable cause which is the standard for non-school cases. When schools have searches you have items found and the Trace released some results of these searches on their website. The results showed that 269 guns were reported found on students in the 2015-2016 school year which results in more than one gun found per school day. It sounds pretty nice that schools are finding these guns on students until you see their next statistic which states that 5.4 percent of students had reported bringing a weapon with them to school. 5.4 percent of students adds up to around 2721600 students over all, that means that 2721600 weapons had made it into schools and out of the guns we only found 269. That shows you how little is actually found in the weapon department.

When these dangerous items are let into schools, there will be consequences like violence and sadly death. Violence in schools happens in a lot of different ways and one of the more impactful violences is homicide. You probably don’t think about how many students die in schools and the number may not be what you think it is. The CDC tracks deaths among teens and their results on teen homicide are shocking with it being the second leading cause of death and about 2% of those deaths happening in schools resulting to about 1008000 deaths a school year. These deaths could have been prevented and they didn’t just harm those students they harmed all of their families and friends in the schools too. Zero students should die in schools because it is a place of learning not death and fear.

Weapons may be the most dangerous thing in schools but a close second is drugs. Everybody knows that drugs could potentially harm you but that’s the last thing high schoolers care about. Whether teens are taking drugs out of peer pressure, for fun, or to help them get through a hard time, it doesn’t matter because a lot of these drugs are making it into the school system. A lot may think drugs are hard to find, but they aren’t at all. Teen rehab center said that 44% of high school students know a classmate who sells drugs. They also say that 2.5% of high school students are addicted to cocaine which may seem small, but it results in millions of teens taking drugs that have a higher chance to kill them. Not all drugs are directly deadly, but they are still making their way in and potentially harming students. The National Institute of Drug Abuse released a survey for the 2015-2016 school year which revealed that 58.2% of seniors had drunk alcohol and 34.9% had tried marijuana. Drugs are prevalent in high school and without a safety reform the danger will continue.

Homicide is not the only type of violence in schools that leaves lasting effects on the person and the people around them. Sexual assault can be just as harming in schools with it affecting 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Those sexual assault cases are no laughing matter especially with their lasting effects and high costs. The magnitude of sexual assault is already alarming and what happens after is what makes it even worse. The NSVRC says that each rape case costs about $151,423 for a total of $127 billion a year which is awfully high for something that could be prevented. While the cost may be high already there are more problems attached which are physical and mental. The NSVRC says that these cases leave 81% of women and 36% of men affected by them with PTSD and other mental problems. We need to be preventing this not only because of the lasting effects or cost but also because 90% of sexual assault cases on campuses are not reported directly to police, according to the NSVRC. If we can prevent this we won’t need to have such high of a cost to the people affected and the people who are too scared won’t have it done to them at all.

Violence, illegal drugs, and contraband are a lot of the biggest problems in America that have all made it into the public school system but nobody is doing anything about it. Our society has shown great apathy to safety in our schools which is a huge mistake. The future of our country and our people is at risk here for silly reasons that could be solved if someone cared. I have seen parents, teachers, administration, and security officers shrug dangerous actions off. When nobody cares about an issue, it will run rampant and out of control and if something isn’t done now who knows what could happen to our students and our future.

There are two things we need in order to fix this crisis and those things are people who care and regulations. Regulations are rules that are enforced. We need rules about searches, contraband, and punishments that will be enforced. When a rule is broken and not enforced that just teaches the criminal that they can do it again and again without consequence. In order to get those rules, we need someone to make them and someone who cares about our generation and the ones to come. We need authority figures who will follows those laws and give the punishments that are tied to them, so students lives can be saved and rehabilitated. Those 1008000 deaths could be prevented and students could be removed from the drug loop so we all could make something out of ours lives like society is telling us to do.

A government is nothing without it’s people and if these issues continue in schools we will be running out of those people. We need to keep everyone educated and able so that our nation can grow and expand, and that is why I ask you, my future president, to save our schools. To save the future of of America and to let us live our lives how we want to without threats, death, and violence, Thank you.

Spanish Fork High School

AP Language 16-17

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