Opinion: The American school system is focusing on the wrong safety

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Nyla Smith

Security measures like locked doors shouldn’t be the only measures taken to ensure the safety of the student body.

Disclaimer: This article is pertaining to the education system as a whole, not just Hebron High School. 

I am sure we all know about the new rules in place that are intended to keep the student body safe. However, it seems as if American schools are more focused on keeping students locked in and safe from the outside, rather than dealing with the issues on the inside.

It is no surprise that schools, specifically in Texas, are getting more funding to boost security presence for student safety. After the recent events this past year in Uvalde, Texas, it’s hard to not wish for more security and disciplinary action at our schools. Investing in putting more security cameras, having police officers present and other safety measures enforced on school grounds are wonderful ideas on paper. But, unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that the call often comes from inside the house. Here are areas where schools could spend more time and energy if they want to proactively create a safer environment.

Trust

In the past month, students have gone over several advisory lessons pertaining to bullying, both online and off. Of course, a handful of students don’t take these lessons seriously and I can’t blame them. I understand these lessons are state-mandated; however, we can’t rely on these videos as our only source of warning when it’s obvious that not many students are going to listen. 

For instance, a video stating that “if you are dealing with bullying, it’s best to talk to a trusted adult” is different than a teacher actually showing they are willing to listen. Furthermore, it’s important that students aren’t smothered and micro-managed by teachers and administration. Having a staff that constantly regulates and critiques what you do because they feel you are bound to do something wrong is a main reason as to why a lot of students aren’t huge fans of their administrators. It can make one feel as if they can’t be trusted and thus builds a negative mindset.

Disciplinary Action

To many students, the consequences of students breaking the rules seem inconsistent with who they affect. I have seen instances where students have been exposed for being openly racist or sexist, yet don’t receive noticeable disciplinary action. I understand schools can only do so much, especially when it comes to students merely saying words, but these aren’t “just words;” they affect a large group of the student body, and doing nothing only shows that administration doesn’t take student issues seriously enough. 

There have been schools that have allegedly protected these perpetrators from students who are rightfully angry at their actions and words. In doing this, students feel as if they need to deal with issues on their own through physical fights and cyberbullying. This does not warrant or excuse any of these actions, but for things like fights, we have to keep this in mind.

A Voice

The need for student voices to be heard is a key factor in school safety. Having more opportunities for student voice has been proven to help in a school environment. This can be achieved by mending the relationships between students and staff, as well as within the student body, by heightening students’ interest in learning. When cries go unheard, there is a higher chance of there being an uproar rather than silence. There are many opportunities for student voices to be heard at schools across the state, one of them being Hebron. However, this privilege isn’t available at all schools in Texas. Being able to voice your concerns with a superior and have those worries acted upon is fundamental to a healthy school environment. There are instances where some students end up in fights because they feel as if there is no other way to be heard.

Administrators, as well as state officials, need to realize that this issue can’t be fixed with a few posters and videos; students need to feel as if they can trust the adults around them in order to confide in them. There are obvious times when the school can’t do much due to legal reasons, but they can still listen to students and help them with their mental state.