Current Public Education System Harmfulness Discussion

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Art ・MLA ・2 Sources

The documentary “The War on Kids” by way of Cevin Soling highlight important lessons, which need to be learned in regards to today’s public schools. The first lesson: zero tolerance started as some thing related to the drug war and the want to make sure gun were now not brought into schools. However, zero tolerance has created significant problems, which consist of clamp down for children countrywide. Sociologists have developed the term notable predators, which they have used to describe zero tolerance policy in public schools. According to sociologists, gorgeous predator generations needed to be controlled and evaluated earlier than being freed to the society. In addition to, zero tolerance has became a weapon and it is violently and discretionary being used against students.

Randy Cassingham, a journalist and author of “This is True”, consider how public school system has changed with time. According to Randy, principals would provide the punishment that children needed to take when they do something wrong at schools. This included doing some chores after schools. However, things have significantly changed. Rules have become discretionary, for instance. If a child is found with a weapon he/she is expelled for the rest of the year or for life. Weapons do not include knives and guns only but also anything like key chains, or a representation of a weapon. Dr. Henry A. Giroux, professor at McMaster University and author of “Stealing innocence: corporate culture’s war on children” seems to support this view. According to Henry, a 10 year old in Florida in a school governed under zero tolerance policy, stole $2 from his classmate. The student was charged with felony and was jailed for 2 week.

Zero tolerance has created a society where there is institutional vengeance against the youth. Youths are being punished for crimes that do not fit the type of punishments being instituted. Nonetheless, as Dan Losen, Civil Liberties Project, Harvard University provides, schools are referring students directly to the police. In some schools police officers are allowed to violate school principles, thus affecting the rights of students. While this seems to be a significant problem, Losen considers the fact that, up until now, there is no research to support the fact that zero tolerance make children in schools safe. In fact, this policy is being used by schools to charge students with trivial mistakes. For instance, Austin, a student in one of the public schools was charged with assault after bringing a GI Joe action figure to school and holding the GI Joe gun to a fellow students head.

Zero tolerance is therefore, becoming some form of weapon to discriminate against students in schools. According to the documentary, more than 95% of infractions that resulted in suspension involved no weapons, drugs or alcohol. Zero tolerance is currently being used as a way of controlling children, as well as, to develop rules that affects the growth of children. Furthermore, school teachers and even the principals are using Miranda rights against children. While trusting the school principal is required in most schools, principals are turning children to police officials after providing information on various criminal activities.

Another important lesson is school security. Because the camera crew, despite all attempts were not allowed to film inside Columbine High School, it was important to get important information regarding school security from various students. According to a number of students, there are approximately 37 cameras all over the school. One of the students stated that cameras are put all over the school to instill fear in students. However, Chester Floyd, Superintendent at Goose Creek SC, provide that most student feel safe when there is some body watching all activities in schools. According to Floyd, security prevents students from being harmed. However, students believe otherwise. According to Jessica Botcher, one of the students at Columbine High School, cameras are preventing students from taking part in many activities. According to Jessica, security system at Columbine is acting as a “big brother” since it watches every move one takes. Despite that, these cameras cannot prevent anything but only take pictures of what is taking place. This is evident considering the fact that, cameras could not prevent the shooting at the school.

Critically, while Floyd considers cameras as a way of ensuring safety in school, there is no research to support the fact that metal detectors, locker searches, or security cameras have any impact in reducing violence in schools (The War on Kids). According to Judith Browne, the Co-director of The Advancement Project, media hysteria created the ground for the support for zero tolerance. As a result, schools are forced to intensify their security by involving a number of police officers and installing cameras in every corner of the school premise. Any activity that is viewed through cameras and seems suspicious is reported to police. A good example is the incident which took place in 2003, whereby Principal George McCrackin called for a SWAT team raid on Stratford High School after suspecting that some students were dealing marijuana (The War on Kids). More than 100 students were forced to lie down at a gun point (The War on Kids). However, no drugs were found after an extensive search. The search process involved drug detecting dogs and guns pointed directly to students heads.

While school principals and other figures in the government are pondering the question of how to stop drug addiction and enforce security in schools, security is being used to instill fear in students. Anne Brick, a Staff Attorney at ACLU, highlight two problems created by using drug sniffing dogs and violent activities on students as form of security: (1) these activities create a police atmosphere in schools and (2) these activities teach children the wrong lesson, that one is guilty until he/she is proven innocent. Drug sniffing dogs are not always accurate. According to Anne these dogs can be drawn to the food a child has carried in his/her bag, and the police officer might mistake it to something else: drugs, for instance.

Apart from intensified security, today’s American public schools are significantly being affected by the ongoing war on drugs. However, as Mike A. Males, a sociologist instructor and the author of “Scapegoat generation” provides, most of the things that we hear regarding the use of drugs in public schools are not real. Peer pressure has always been blamed for the use of drugs in schools. However, a number of students think otherwise. Jessica believes that the main problem lies with fact that most of the programs that have been established to fight against drug abuse do not consider the main source of the problem. One of the programs: DARE was established to prevent students from abusing drugs. However, research shows that most students that graduate through DARE are more likely to abuse drugs compared to students who did not go through this program (The War on Kids).

Dan Goldman, a student for a Sensible Drug Policy, argues that the whole educational system implement with an aim of preventing drug abuse need to be changed. Dan argues that, while most advertisements and teaching are required to make children not to abuse drugs, they are, in fact, creating the forbidden fruit syndrome. Students are drawn to drugs because they are not provided with the right information as to why they should not use drugs. Apart from that, there is also the issue of administrations and the safety they provide to students. In today’s public schools students are always blamed almost everything. As a result, many students create the perception that school is not a place where they should be. Michael Dewy, a student believes that teachers need to love their students. However, in today’s public schools, teachers are mostly concerned about having authority over people. People want to become teachers because they know they will have control over students.

In conclusion, the current public school system is considered harmful because it is using resources, which are required to ensure students gain education in safe environments to affect the lives of students. The zero tolerance policy, as implemented by most public schools is currently being used by schools to punish students for trivial mistakes. Public schools are currently being compared to prisons because of the tight security that students are forced to live under. Because of this, students are afraid of taking part in some activities, while some are forced to only use those areas where cameras have not been installed. Students’ lives at public schools are also affected by authoritative nature of teachers. Teachers are no longer the loving and caring professionals that most students confided to, but are currently being compared to people who think of controlling others.

Work Cited

Kang-Brown, Jacob et al. A Generation Later: What We’Ve Learned About Zero Tolerance In Schools. VERA Institute of Justice, 2013. Print. ISSUE BRIEF.

The War On Kids. USA: Cevin Soling, 2011. video.

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