Journal Writing Project: The School System

Emily Stevens

By Emily Stevens

You know what bothers me the most? How school systems will report problems but do nothing to fix them. Or maybe when they do something that doesn’t help the situation at all and they call it good. Not only do they not help situations. But they also ignore half the problems in schools and pretend they don’t know.

Let’s start with bullying. Huge problem, right? Why aren’t we doing more about it? Schools say their students need to speak up about it, but why can’t they do anything when it’s happening right in front of them? Why do students have to show up? We should try to make school a safer place, so that students are not afraid to go there. Especially high school students. These students are between 14 and 18 years old and they are already giving up because of how they feel about going to school. Instead of blaming students, ask why. Maybe even help. Offer real options that will help you. Maybe offer them a safe space to talk. When students speak up about it, show real discipline to bullies. These days all bullies get a little chat and that’s it. We need to do more. Students must feel safe in a space where they must be approximately seven hours a day.

And why do we blame the students so much? I mean, I get it, some students are tough but instead of giving up right away, try to help. It’s not that hard. The decisions students make are most likely driven by reasoning. If a student is sleeping in class, ask why. Don’t discipline them if you don’t know why they are doing it. Ask why and find a solution. And let’s talk about students vaping in the toilet. I know this is a sore subject in my school. Do schools know why they might be doing this? No, they discipline them. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a situation that needs discipline. But why don’t schools try to understand why these students are doing these things and making these decisions? Schools should provide solutions to problems that are primarily caused and created by them.

Not to mention the discrimination that still plagues schools. It’s 2022 and students still face bullying and challenges for their sexualities, skin colors and disabilities. This is another thing that schools do next to nothing. In some schools, teachers are even part of these issues. We go back in time and it has become a daily struggle for these people. I can’t even tell you how many situations I’ve seen where students make fun of and bully other students because they’re not the same color, they’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, or because they are disabled. I have seen and heard of several situations in different schools where students have reported these issues and nothing has been done. It’s ridiculous. But it’s also another example of why some students don’t feel safe at school.

Students act as if they don’t want help because it hasn’t been offered properly. The “help” they got was for naught. People say that the students of this generation are our future, but they don’t act on it. They criticize us for the problems they have created. Students will not be respectful if they are not respected first. We are not smaller because we are still learning. Teach us things that matter and that we will use. Teach us things that will help you. You say we are the future, so treat us as such.

Emily Stevens is a student at Grand Meadow High School. She is one of 14 local students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 23rd year.

Jeremy S. McLain