Being a student is rough enough as it is. All these years later, I still look back on my school days with a weird mix of emotions. There were good times and life was a lot easier back then, but on the other hand, things could be rough too.
I’d go back to the days of summer vacation in a heartbeat, especially if I didn’t have to step foot in the school itself.
But for millions of people, that’s not some nostalgia they fondly remember after it’s all said and done. They’re in school here and now, as is perfectly normal.
For many of those kids, school may not ever be particularly nostalgic. Why? Schools are becoming pretty rough places.
With the deadly Oxford, Mich., high school shooting that killed four students this week still raw, a new government study details how increasingly malicious American school environments can be.
Analyzing Education Department data, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found a huge jump in K-12 public school “hostile behaviors.” The most alarming statistic — physical attacks with a weapon nearly doubled early in the Trump administration.
In a two-year period, from school years 2015-2016 to 2017-2018, attacks with weapons jumped 97 percent, according to the most recent data available. At the same time, hate crimes increased 81 percent and sexual assaults rose 17 percent.
The report offers no reason for the dramatic growth in attacks with weapons and hate crimes, but “schools are microcosms of their communities,” Jacqueline M. Nowicki, GAO’s director of education, workforce, and income security issues, said by phone.
Note that these dates predate the pandemic. This was a time when violent crime was dropping in every other part of American life, so why was it getting worse in schools?
Another question, how bad is it now?
I mean, if it jumped that much in 2017, what does it look like now?
Of course, the Washington Post does its best to blame Trump for this. They offer no real evidence, no studies or anything, and acknowledge the GAO doesn’t speculate on why this is happening, but they blame Trump for it nonetheless.
Yet they also point out something that’s actually worth remembering, which is that the numbers are likely underreported.
After all, schools aren’t unlike prisons in many ways. Students aren’t likely to talk to teachers about being attacked for a number of reasons. For one thing, retribution can be swift and painful for “snitching,” much like in prison. If there’s no injury, there’s a feeling there’s no excuse to even mention it.
And there are other reasons to be silent as well.
Hell, I remember telling a teacher–exactly what I was told we should do–and ended up getting punished as well. You’re not going to tell me that’s changed.
Instead, it’s likely gotten worse.
So yeah, I can see the statistics actually being on the low side.
With that in mind, is it any wonder that more kids are bringing guns to school? I’m not excusing it by any means, but I do understand it. It also makes it clear that despite claims to the contrary, this isn’t just about the pandemic.