Nearly two weeks ago, a high school student in Wisconsin held 23 students and a teacher hostage for five hours before officers decided to bust open the doors after hearing three gunshots. The student, Sam Hengel, shot and wounded himself and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local medical center. According to news media reports
, Hengel “refused to communicate with officials during the standoff and did not make any demands.”This is not the first time most Americans have witness such events in our schools. The massacres at Columbine High School in Colorado and the Virginia Tech Massacre received a lot of public attention. The perpetrators of these massacres were often bullied and lashed out as a result of the bullying and isolation.
This is why I feel like acts like bullying and violence in schools should be eradicated or minimized to reduce the chances of school shootings and suicides among students. New York is one of the top three states when it comes to bullying behind California and Texas. Ironically, these three states are also the three largest states in the country, and highlight the need to address the issue on a more national scale. I have personally experienced and have seen acts of violence in and outside of my school. Most of these acts of violence, in and out of school, are mostly related to street gangs, which in turn have caused some students to demand safety transfers in which they change schools for fear of safety.
I feel the dangers and possible consequences of bullying should be taught more often in our schools to help minimize the chance of another Columbine or Virginia Tech Massacre. During my now four years in high school, I have only learned about bullying on one occasion. Events like the aforementioned tragedies strikes often occur without warning and everyone in proximity can be a potential victim.
Young people who feel left out, abused, or bullied are often unaware of the help and aid that is available to them. Many organizations have websites that can help them deal with the issue or hotline numbers where they may call for help. According to stopbullyingnow.com, there can be a 50% reduction in rates of bullying if the right steps are taken. In some cases, people do not know if they are harming, offending or hurting another person. Some young people who feel they have no options in terms of stopping bullying turn to gangs as their remedy. Since 2002, membership in teen gangs has been on the rise again, especially in large cities and suburban areas. Funding alone won't solve the issue; I feel our leaders need to become more proactive in what is becoming a very serious issue in our schools. A child can't learn if they don't feel safe.