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The Inevitability Of School Violence: No Need For School Reform

832 words - 3 pages

The Inevitability of School Violence: No Need for School Reform

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” I have often heard. We know people kill people. The real issue now is whether or not people can change people. Some are of the opinion that we are capable of doing so; by implementing new reforms and tightening school security, people are, in effect, saying they have the solutions to the problems. The violence of recent school shootings has wrought anxiety and fear in parents, teachers, and administrators across the nation. The massacre of Columbine turned a public school library into a cemetery. The shooting in Oklahoma ripped us from the comfort of a stereotypical and easily recognized threat; now popular straight-A students pull guns without black trench coats. The violence has become unpredictable and, in all cases, extremely frightening. In response to the threat, schools have engaged in extensive prevention programs, often banning book-bags, implementing dress codes, setting up metal detectors, or requiring students to attend anger management classes. Such attempts at reform sound efficient on paper and may to some extent alleviate the anxieties of parents, but they are like storming castle walls with slingshots. The object of reform in this case is not tangible or always plausible. The object of reform is the human heart, the internal person. We need to understand that the problem is bigger than a trench coat or a gun; therefore, dress codes or metal detectors cannot solve it. These reforms are often vain attempts at prevention. They hinder education and provoke students. Policy makers and schools need to be aware that no simple public mandate can suffice as a solution.

In response to the massacres, school security has become an increasing source of debate as the prospect of metal detectors and police patrols and students IDs have become prevalent. In the Greater Cincinnati area, schools have “tightened discipline codes, locked school doors...and adopted dress codes barring book-bags, coats, and other clothing...” (Mathis A3). Many people believe that tightened security will not only prevent guns and weapons from invading school premises but will discourage potential offenders from dangerous attempts. Such extravagant measures, while encompassing a broad range of potential violence, will still leave open many opportunities for disaster. The beep of a metal detector is not enough to alter a person’s intent; the absence of a book-bag does not close all avenues to a plotting mind. “We still have accomplished nothing if more metal detectors...

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