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Editorial Contest 2024: Practical solutions can help stop school violence

The Lansing Journal has partnered with the freshman class at Unity Christian Academy for three consecutive years to host a student editorial contest. Each freshman student wrote an editorial about something they care about, and submitted it to The Lansing Journal. Publisher Melanie Jongsma and Managing Editor Josh Bootsma read the editorials and picked five winners based on criteria including: making a claim, persuasion and analysis, evidence, local impact, and language and voice. This is the fifth and final editorial to be published this year. Earlier winners are linked below.


(Photo provided by Unity Christian Academy)
By Lexi Smith

Imagine being a kid sent to school, expecting to be safe, only to hear that a violent incident happened within the halls of the school without any guns being fired. Your confidence and sense of security would be destroyed. Unfortunately, it is common in Illinois, where violence in schools is very bad, and can hurt people.

Some solutions to this crisis are more school social workers, no more than three students in the bathroom at a time, a prohibition on multiple students from leaving the classroom at the same time, and a stricter hall pass.

Social workers

First, schools should have more social workers so that they can help prevent school violence. I think that schools need social workers because some people have mental problems and don’t know how to handle them, causing violence.

A social worker can help students calm down, and give them someone to vent to. Students can also learn life lessons from them so the next time they’re in a tough situation, they can know what to do.

I have a social worker and she helps me a lot when there’s a miscommunication drama. She lets me vent to her and when I do, she teaches me life lessons and tells me what to do when certain things happen. This actually helps.

According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, “A positive school climate embraces respect between students, teachers , and administration.”

Showing respect helps stop fights and bullying, and it also can make the environment better for the students, teachers, and administration.

Three at a time

Second, teachers should not let more than three students go to the bathroom at a time. This is because a large number of students in the bathroom can create opportunities for bullying, fights, and other forms of violence. Not letting certain students in the bathroom at the same time can decrease the level of bullying and fights and can help the school become more positive.

According to CBS News, earlier this year a fight occurred inside a bathroom at Wheaton Warrenville South High School. When this happened, school administrators came up with solutions to help solve occurrences of violence in the bathroom and one of them was to create a rule for “no more than three students in the bathroom at a time.”

Less unattended students

Third, teachers shouldn’t let multiple students leave the classroom at the same time and they should have a stricter hall pass. Not letting a lot of students leave the class and not having stricter hall passes can cause disruption and distraction. Such limits can help slow the numbers of students who may be skipping class or engaging in other activities.

Pandemic impact

I believe school violence has something to do with the pandemic, because when the students left school and started doing e-learning their grades started dropping and certain people started to get depressed. When they came back to school, they forgot how to act properly.

Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin said in a Fox 32 article, “We believe the pandemic is contributing to increased trauma for our students and that’s likely one of the reasons students are acting out,” and I agree with this also because the pandemic changed a lot of people and it was a hard time for students, including me.

My conclusion is that violence in school can really affect students and others, and it’s very bad for people’s mental health.

Other 2024 editorial winners

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The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.