Innocence Lost

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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I have always looked at children as symbols of innocence, joy, and peace that somehow had been lost in the years. Now children know the pain and horror that most of us would not have been able to imagine; violence in our school systems is everywhere. What was once considered a safe place for children to spend their days is now where some kids fear to go. The reasons are obvious, if children keep up with the news; they see it every year. The most destructive school shooting would have to be the unforgettable Columbine shooting in 1999. In the small town of Littleton, Colorado were two young men in the "trench coat" uniform injured many students and killed fifteen, including themselves.

So how can we help in the fight against school violence? It is ironic that the larger schools with the higher levels of security are where the crimes are happening.

Are these multi-million dollar, so-called life-saving systems failing us? I am not saying that big schools in small towns are never safe. We have recently moved into a new, college size school and I expect more problems. After the many shootings, schools everywhere are increasing their security systems, but will that save them? We must admit that it is only a machine, and a machine can be tampered with or can malfunction. Along with our new high tech school comes the security system, as in one hundred and twenty six hallway cameras monitoring us twenty-four hours a day. I read in our local paper that the cameras and metal detectors have cost the school four hundred thousand dollars. This year we have been issued name badges, which must be worn at all times. I know that these won't stop violence from happening, but they can stop outsiders from easily appearing on campus. These are some of the ideas that my school has came up with to keep me safe, and so far it has worked. But in order to stop a shooting from happening, we need to stop it before it starts. All to often we hear from a friend of the shooter, "Well, they were talking about doing it, but I never thought that they would ever go through with it!" That is our problem, Americans are too trustworthy. We have built the perfect nation; it is obvious that it is going to have its problems. But what is more obvious is how to fix it, just care.

One question that is always asked in this situation, but never answered is "who is to blame?" The question that should really be asked is " who isn't?" School violence is the contribution of everyone, the community, parents, students, everyone! In most cases, teachers blame the parents, parents blame the media and the students, and well we blame everyone and everything. The responsibility of prevention and keeping the school systems safe belongs to everyone. Violence doesn't just belong to the "I just got shot" category, everything that happens behind the scenes in the schools that seem meaningless and are overlooked might fall in the violence category. In my school, you hear about the fights everyday, name calling, and just ignoring someone because they don't fit in. You hear about them in the school, but the rest of the community continues to be uneducated about the problems of our school system. Chesterton, being such a small town, we tend to put off the problems and troubles of today that we have in our community. And America, much like my town has gotten use to putting off the problems of today, everyone needs to get involved and educated about what is happening in their school, and their peers minds.

Our cruel ways and manufactured hatred has led the world to a new age, where anger is everywhere. And people live with rage in their hearts and minds. With this in mind, violence in this new day and age is inevitable, how can we change this? Well, think of the word peace. Start small, smile at someone you don't know, I know this won't change the world automatically. But for that one person, you may have made their day a little bit better! And in turn they might smile at someone else.