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Locker searches = more security at school

By Adam Joseph Taylor, reporter, Youth Neighborhood News

Students, teachers, and administrators all have their own opinion on locker searches. Students say it’s not fair. Teachers say it can be useful. Administrators say it costs money. I say locker searches positively impact schools by removing potential dangers to the school environment such as weapons and drugs.

It seems school safety is too often a minor focus instead of something that should be treated like airport security. Really! Drug use, weapons, and violence should not be part of school environments. These dangers in our schools stop students from getting the education they deserve.

Schools face tons of problems because they are not properly monitored and students often don’t feel safe because of potential issues. According to the National Education Association (NEA), every day 160,000 students skip classes because they fear physical harm and 6,250 teachers are threatened with bodily injury. That’s a big number! This must be decreased if students are going to get their education and be successful.

Unfortunately, weapons have become a part of many people’s lives. According to the NEA, 100,000 students bring guns to schools and 260 teachers are physically assaulted every day. Oftentimes their parents don’t know about it.

There must be a collaborative effort between the teachers and parents to make sure weapons are not brought to schools.  Parent involvement and staff involvement is very important for students well-being. Teachers must be able to communicate to the students about any violence going on.  Students must feel comfortable enough to communicate with their parents about any problems that harm their education.

Today, many schools have metal detectors to keep weapons out of schools but those are not the answer. They bring a negative impact to schools and the surroundings.

Drug use is also a major problem in our nation and schools. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 2009 and 2010 marijuana use increased among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. According to WebMD Joseph A. Califano Jr., who served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter administration, “Parents, school administrators, and government officials need to wake up to the reality of increasingly drug-infested schools.”

Would locker searches minimize potential threats, drug use and metal detectors in schools? I think so. I interviewed two people about their opinions on locker searches; both had their own thoughts about it.

I asked Camille Redmond, a Detroit school teacher at Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies, “Should locker searches be conducted in schools?”

“School is not only a learning environment, it is also a ‘practice field,’” she says. “School allows students to practice lessons of life and to practice being productive citizens. For example, students must be on time for class because they must be on time to work. Students must turn in homework on time because they must meet deadlines for work,”

When students fail at their practice there are consequences, she points out. These consequences are modeled after the potential consequences in the workforce or in society. There is never a time in life when a random search occurs unless they have agreed to allow a search to be done. Random locker searches do not model any lesson to be learned about functioning in American society and should not be imposed at American schools.

I also asked Paul Matylonek, a former resident of Hamtramck, and a collage official at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, for his opinion on random locker searches.

“A school locker is not the personal property of the student,” he says. “The locker belongs to the school and the school is letting the student use the space to secure his or her belongings. If the school begins charging students a rental fee for the locker, then that would give students more rights. However, even then, the student does not own the locker and must abide with the owners stipulations to rent the space. Thus, a school has every right to search lockers in order to enforce the established rules, and ensure rules are being followed as owners of the property.”

Violence and drug use are too often part of the Detroit Public Schools. I looked at the DPS website and it says the primary mission of DPS is to educate students to perform at high academic levels. People always told me saying it is one thing but they need to see action. DPS must start showing actions of improvement.

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