Weapons and Drugs in Our Schools
The problem of weapons and drugs in schools has become a serious problem in schools throughout the United States. Almost 20% of all students in high school report that they have carried a weapon at least once, and in the past two years there have been over 80 homicides committed on school grounds. Also, teenage drug use in America is the highest of any industrialized nation and it is only getting worse. After a decade of declining drug use, the use of all illegal drugs by teenagers has increased significantly. Sixty-one percent of seniors in high school report of having used drugs and the percentage of children using drugs by the sixth grade has tripled. "In a recent survey, 19 percent of …show more content…
What is Being Done:
"Zero tolerance" policies are the new theme in fighting weapons and drugs in schools. These policies behind the pressure of President Clinton have been enacted in 47 states. The idea is to encourage states to get tough on youth that threaten their own safety and the safety of others. Some of the more popular measures with these policies include installing metal detectors at school entrances, the use of armed security guards to patrol and monitor students, and the automatic removal of students who break rules regarding weapons and drugs. According to the Department of Education, school districts that have enacted these policies are showing improvements in these areas. For example, Dade county public school officials seized only 110 guns in the past year from 193 the previous year after enacting a zero tolerance policy.
What Should Be Done:
With millions of dollars being spent on measures to fight weapons and drugs in schools, little reason for optimism exists due to the track record of these methods and programs. Drugs and problems still continue to be a serious problem for our youth. For example, despite spending more than 20 million dollars on the installation of metal detectors at public schools in New York City, weapons continue to be a serious problem. In order for us to have safe schools, we need to bridge the gap between
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
After the Sandy Hook, there were countless ways for students to be safe at school. In Preparing for the Unthinkable: School Safety after Sandy Hook news article, Vicki Bauman said, “ Instead of gates, guns, and metal detectors, let’s invest in the things we know will make us safer: counselors, health care, teaching positive behavior, and making sure we have services to reach out to disconnected youth and pull them back on track.” Therefore, violence is not the answer to any question or issue. The community and school system should take a stand and get the necessities that the schools need to have a safe environment for the students and faculty and staff. The school can invest in law enforcement. The law enforcement will be able to conduct a consistent search through a metal detector. The law enforcement will help the students to avoid bringing prohibited weapons to school as well as, there to protect the school.
Zero-tolerance policies developed to prevent drug abuse and violence in school in 1990 in the U.S. Even if those behaviors or small things minor offenses were done by accident or unconsciously, students get prosecuted and sent into the juvenile justice system as a punishment. Schools create disciplines for suspending and expelling students when they break certain rules. For example, if a student brings a weapon to school, including items that may not hurt anyone like nail clippers and toy guns, if a student has drugs, including medications or alcohol on campus, if a student says anything that someone could get as a threat, if a student does not obey teacher’s instruction, if a student fights with other students, the student would be given punishment with no choice. After adopting this policy, the number of school suspensions and dismissals increased, and the number of students who send into the prison also increased as well. Therefore, the school to prison pipeline became an issue in the education system.
Zero tolerance policies arose during the late 1980’s in response to a rising tide of juvenile arrests for violent offenses and the expanding view of youth as dangerous. During this time discipline in educational settings became much more formal and rigid. Discretion was removed from teachers and administrative staff in favor of broadly instituted policies, which often involved law enforcement and arrest. In 1994 Congress passed the Gun-Free Schools Act, which forced states to pass laws mandating expulsion for a minimum of one year for bringing a weapon to school in order to receive federal education funds. By the mid 90’s roughly 80% of schools had adopted zero tolerance policies beyond the federal requirements and in response the federal government began to increase funding for security guards and other school based law enforcement officers and equipment. These changes occurred primarily between 1996 and 2008 and mirrored changes in the juvenile justice system to more closely emulate the adult system.
Zero tolerance started as a way to keep guns out of schools until the staff at school started to use it as a way to report and punish non serious offences (Heitzeg, 2009).
Children, starting as early as elementary school, are being educated on substance abuse. As of 2013, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, D.A.R.E., administers a school-based substance abuse, gang, and violence prevention program in 75 percent of the United States school districts. Since 1983, 70,000 police officers have taught the D.A.R.E. program to approximately 114 million elementary through high school students in the United States alone ("Is the D.A.R.E. Program Good for America's Kids K-12?"). This program is aimed at preventing drug use in elementary, middle, and high school students. A needle-exchange program implicitly encourages the exact opposite message, condoning immoral and illicit behavior. Governments should focus on discouraging drug use, providing more productive treatment for recovery, and punishing drug users instead of supplying the materials to continue their addiction. Young children have the potential to take more risks and must receive a clear message on drugs, which should coincide with the no tolerance policy they are being taught in school with implementation of the D.A.R.E. program. A needle-exchange program is more of a hopeful harm reduction campaign that sends the wrong message to young children and society as a whole. If there is to be a positive change in America regarding intravenous drug use, then the government and school programs all need to be on the same page; we
The term “zero tolerance” emerged from the get-tough rhetoric surrounding the war on drugs (McNeal, 2016). In the 1990’s, the term moved to into the educational vernacular due to a mass fear of violence in schools, particularly in reference to firearms. The Gun Free Schools Act of 1994, solidified the implementation of these get-tough policies (McNeal, 2016) and by 1998, the rehabilitative behavioral processes on most campuses across the country were replaced with zero tolerance policies (Rodríguez, 2017). Although they were implemented to combat school violence, school related deaths, despite the perception, have actually decreased since the 1990s (Welch & Payne, 2010). However, zero tolerance policies are still becoming more and more prevalent in schools. These policies have
Connecticut, Georgia, Colorado, Virginia, Oregon, Michigan, and Tennessee are the sites in which some of the most viscous school crimes have occurred. In this day and age it seems as if school isn't a safe haven for America's children anymore. School shootings are on the rise more than ever in today's society with kids as young as 9 years old committing these gruesome crimes against their classmates and instructors. To see this type of action among kids is heartbreaking and sad. People wonder what makes a child want to kill another or how did they get their little hands on such a powerful weapon. Most of the young killers today find it very easy to gain access to guns and bomb making material via the Internet. By using the internet
Rebecca London, a research professor at UC Santa Cruz, explains about how the zero tolerance policy plays a critical role in developing the school-to-prison pipeline. The zero tolerance policy was implemented in 1990 in hopes to reduce the amount of criminal related activity in schools (London 2017). Because of the policy, many minor or small infringement of the school rules criminalized at-risk students. For example, students were punished heavily for carrying nail clippers, having over the counter medications, and even cutting the lunch line (London 2017). Students who partake in any of the examples or anything similar will be suspended or face tougher consequences than normal discipline actions compared to a privileged school. By punishing
Schools are no longer a safe havens for furthering knowledge; instead violence is occurring at alarming rates. Common occurrences in schools include: physical altercations, severe property damage, and bullying behaviors. According to “ThefutureofChidren.org,” youth violence in schools costs the public 158 billion dollars each year. In this decade, that rate of children inflicting violence on other children and teachers is staggering. Today’s teachers are being trained on gun safety, school lobbies are being installed with bullet proof glass, and counselors hold
Another issue with zero tolerance policies is the immediate one year suspension for students who bring a weapon to school. This policy started with the Gun Free Schools Act of 1994 (Boccanfuso and Kuhfeld). The zero tolerance policy for weapons immediately punishes any and all students found to have a weapon in their possession. Many schools have also punished students for pretend weapons, such as a bubble gun, or an Eagle Scout who had a pocket knife in his possession (Newcomb)(Lott). There is a huge difference between a student having a pocket knife in his car or a gun in his hand, but zero policies are meant to punish all students the same at the discretion of a school official (Boccanfuso). The kindergartener who was originally issued a 10 day suspension for what the school deemed a terrorist threat had only told a friend that they should shoot each other with her bubble gun. The bubble gun was not even in her possession. After undergoing a psychological evaluation it was determined that the student was not a threat and her suspension was shortened to
Larry Wilder, Ed. D had spent 19 years at Fresno County Office of Education, and currently directs the administrative services program in the Fresno Pacific University School of Education said, “The National School Board Association estimates that approximately 135,000 guns are brought to America’s 85,000 public schools each day.” This clearly states that there is a serious problem with students bringing guns to school. If school uniforms are implemented, these numbers are certain to go down. For example, the Long Beach Unified School District to require uniforms and in the first year of having them, there was a 50% decline in fights and cases of students with weapons. Other schools have dress codes that require the beltline to be exposed at all times for fear of a weapon in the waistband. Educators say that because of that policy, there was a decrease in violence, fights in schools and improved student achievement. School is meant to a healthy learning environment and by decreasing violence, with the use of uniforms and dress codes, schools are starting to become better learning environments.
I personally think a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, violence, and weapons in a school district that utilize school safety officers as security is extremely important as this policy ensures the safety of not only the student body, but also the administrators. The implementation of strict discipline polices guarantees a safeguarded community. School zones enacting such policies tend to be highly exposed to the undesirable elements of gang affliction and substance abuse. Therefore, these polices are enacted to deter against threatening elements residing in these school zones. For instance, a student knowingly aware he/she has a greater chance of getting suspended or expelled for displaying unwarranted actions in a school zone, the student will
Adversely an effect of public schools to students’ is the culture of drugs and violence. "No matter where you are, parents want their students to be safe and secure… that might even precede a quality education…With drugs, gangs, and guns on the rise in many communities the threat of violence weighs heavily on most principals minds these days …Anyone who thinks they are not vulnerable is really naïve" (Durso). When parents send their children off to school they do not know who their child associates with. Those people may introduce them into drugs and violence of any kind. Later Durso states “More than half of U.S. public schools reported experiencing at least one crime incident during a given school year, and 1 in 10 schools reported at least one serious violent crime during that school year’’. It is very evident that the issue with violence is a major problem. Furthermore, an article from the National Institute of Drug Abuse states “the use of marijuana, alcohol, cigarette, and prescription drugs have significantly increased”. Along with the increase of drug and violence, there comes a large amount of students who have witnessed these crimes. “Eighty percent of high school students and 44% of middle school students reported that they personally had witnessed one or more of the following on the grounds of their school: 1) illegal drugs used; 2) illegal drugs sold; 3) illegal drugs in the possession of students (either on them or in their
Once clearly defined, enforcing the zero tolerance policies can be relatively easy for the offenses related to illegal drugs and alcohol. These are serious threats to school safety and using common sense when applying the policies against such offenses should help. Violence on the other hand is more difficult to define at schools because it can take many forms. Under the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, in order for school
An eighth grader has the ability to obtain heroin or cocaine as effortless as he or she could marijuana. The scary thing is that drugs are so much stronger, purer, and more deadly than they were decades ago. Can you even imagine children using them and the way they are harming their bodies? As far as school and their education, what child will learn if they come to school high or intoxicated? Or if they even go to school for that matter. The programs that the schools have provided, such as D.A.R.E., have proved themselves to be ineffective. There are just as many kids, and that is exactly what they are, using drugs that have taken the program than the kids that had not participated. It seems that the more the government tried to educate against drug, the more negative attitudes arose against the police and law enforcement. And with that escalates the positive attitudes towards using drugs and alcohol, as well as a rise in criminal behavior. As a result in the drug war, education becomes limited to those who actually care to learn.