Social Unrest


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'All we lack is the will- the will to see that the greatest threat is not change, but our continued resistance to it.'; These words, expressed by the late, Senator Edward Kennedy, display perfectly how our society is reluctant to change when a change is needed. Any change or variation, be it in education, personal attitudes, or traditions can be difficult to achieve. One specific area of our society that is disinclined to change is the social unrest that plagues public schools. The results of this unrest come in the forms of emotional instability for students that may or may not lead to murder.
     Social unrest is happening in all schools across the United States. We hear about it on the news. We read about it in newspapers and in magazines. But what exactly are we hearing and reading about it? We are witnessing the results of this constant 'social unrest'; in schools. What are these results? Homicide and suicide. What scares most people and even myself, is that this could happen at any time, any place. Even Little Falls, New York. All too often seemingly normal, everyday students are violently venting their anger on their fellow classmates. They take the lives of other students, their own, and leave in the wake of their madness, emotional trauma for those who witness it. The real question is, however, why are they so angry? The answer to this lies in school hallways and cafeterias. Students in high school and even middle school, are 'bullied'; by other students, mainly your typical 'jock';, to the point where they simply cannot stand to go to school and be picked on. So what do they do? They come to school armed with automatic weapons, sawed off shotguns, and knives ready to take matters into their own hands. This has happened all too often and is becoming a part of our everyday life.
     In most cases, the students who decide to do a thing like this, are considered outcasts or 'Goths'; by other students. These are the kids who do not conform to a certain group. Who choose to go their own route, and seemingly suffer for it. This is one aspect of public schools that will always be present and one problem that cannot be stopped, only contained. A good example of a child who has the makings of one of these students, is Stephen, a young student in the short story, 'Stephen';, written by Jonathan Kozol.

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This boy was harassed and embarrassed by his classmates and teachers. His creative imagination, suppressed by his art teacher. This child, like many in today's schools are treated the same way. This is, perhaps, one problem that does have a solution. Teachers need to be aware when they are treating someone in this fashion. Those who purposely humiliate students for no apparent reason do not deserve to be teaching. This is the only way to ensure that teachers are doing their jobs. But as for students who poke fun at others, they need to be made aware of what they are doing and the emotional burden they are submitting their fellow classmates to.
     Students, on top of being made fun of, may be influenced to bring a weapon into school based on what they do in their free time at home such as the violent computer games they play or the music they listen to. In the case of Columbine High School, the computer game 'Doom'; and the music of the German band, 'Ramstein';, were to blame. The violence portrayed in the game and in the music may motivate some kids to lash out at those who do not treat them well. Parents of children who play and listen to these sorts of entertainment need to be aware of their content so they can either prevent or stop their children from playing and listening to things that can corrupt their minds.
Social unrest and school violence can happen at anytime without warning. The best thing for schools to do is to be prepared when it happens by educating students and faculty members on what to do if such a situation were to present itself. Also having police officers on campus and perhaps even metal detectors will make students and faculty feel much more comfortable about coming to school.


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