Society is becoming desensitized to school violence


By Portia Kerr-Newman

School violence happens every day in every state, whether it is a fight, a school shooting or just general bullying.

Just recently, I heard of a kindergartner bringing a gun to school in Texas. The gun fell out of the young boy’s pants and went off, injuring several students during lunch time. Now, I’m not sure what the child’s intentions were bringing the gun to school, but I have to wonder how a kindergartner could manage to bring a gun to lunch.

Typically middle schools, high schools and colleges have strict rules on guns, but elementary schools tend to have lighter regulations for their students because they’re so young. This is understandable to some extent.

It is hard for me to even imagine how a kindergartner should be punished for such an offense. Should he be expelled from the school or should he continue to receive his education?

This would be disconcerting enough if it was an isolated incident. Just last week, however, a third-grader bought a loaded semi-automatic handgun from a classmate for just $3. So how do we prevent such incidents from becoming commonplace?

“It is quite impossible to keep all negative influence of the real world outside of our schools,” said Norman Stahl, professor of literacy education. “If we have the best interest of the school at heart, sometimes the rights seen as fundamental to adults must be tempered so as to guarantee the safety and promote the opportunity for the pedagogical growth of students.”

Schools should also implement student assemblies dedicated to non-violence and teachers should have discussions with their students about the dangers of guns.

Parents should check their children’s backpacks and clothes weekly to make sure they’re not bringing things from home that they should not have. If teachers find students acting suspiciously, they should have the right to search through their students belongings provided that they have probable cause.

Parents should monitor the shows, games and movies their children are exposed to. There is a game modification for Half Life 2 called School Shooter that may be available to the public soon, in which the player goes through different schools shooting students and teachers to earn points. The levels are set up to represent various schools around the country where there have been mass shootings; the shooter can even chose one modeled after NIU as an option. According to Time magazine, “At the end of each level, the player has the option to commit suicide before being captured by law enforcement officials.”

The Pennsylvania State House of Representatives are in the process of creating a bill to stop its release. Games like this can badly influence children simply because they may not know any better. Even worse, they reflect our apathy and desensitization to such acts as a society.

When it comes to children’s well-being, parents and teachers alike should make sure the child heads down the right path with the best knowledge for his or her life.