Perceptions About Violence in Schools

By Gabrielle Gray — Let’s put metal detectors at the entrance of every door at every high school and college across the nation!

Do I have your attention?

imageHow would you feel if you had to pass through a metal detector as you are on your way to your Spanish class in Lalumiere hall?
Or while you were rushing off to your accounting class on the 5th floor of Straz Hall?
Would you welcome the precaution, or feel as if your privacy was being invaded?

As students, we attend school for the purpose of advancing our quality of life, and reaching our potential through obtaining an education, not to be treated as criminals- so why is it accepted in some school and not others? Various high schools across the city of Milwaukee welcome students into the building with a tall rectangular structure that requires them to empty pockets, remove their belts, and take off clothing that they may be using to ‘hide’ weapons.

Students are treated as potential criminals as they are instructed to walk through the metal detectors that are searching to affirm such as being true. Such an action diminishes the reputation of the school by placing a negative stigma on its students, and also sends an image to the outside world that these students need to be “checked.” But are these the students that require such a precaution?

Of all of the school shootings that have occurred in our nation in recent times, how many have been committed by minority students that attend students in urban areas?

Bath Consolidated Schoolhouse, 1927;
Edgar Allen Poe Elementary, 1959;
Grand Rapids High School, 1966;
Kent State, 1970;
Olean High School, 1974;
Sumner High School, 1975;
Everett High School, 1978;
Pinellas Park High School, 1988;
Hubbard Woods Elementary School, 1988;
Oakland Elementary School, 1988;
Atlantic Shores Christian School, 1988;
Wauwatosa West High School, 1993;
Valley View Junior High School, 1994;
Margaret Leary Elementary School, 1994;
Wickliffe Middle School, 1994;
Blackville-Hilda High School, 1995;
Richland High School, 1995;
Frontier Junior High School, 1996;
Dekalb Alternative School, 1996;
Bethel High School, 1997;
Pearl High School, 1997;
Heath High School, 1997;
Columbine High School, 1999;
Northern Illinois University, 2004;
Weston High School, 2006;
Virginia Tech, 2007,
and the list goes on.

The line between perception and reality is one that is often blurred by society’s ideas of marginalized groups.

Students at Riverside High School in Milwaukee, WI- a public high school on Milwaukee’s eastside of town- recently protested the incoming metal detectors at their schools through a collection of over 1,000 student signatures.

“We are not criminals, we are scholars,” senior class president Yeng Meng Xiong exclaimed as he spoke to the intrusion that students feel these metal detectors have on their freedom and on their academic success.

Actions like these leads one to question- is the justification for metal detectors and other methods of prevention wrongly associated with groups and social environment that are assumed to be violent over those whom have actually proven to be so in recent history?

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