Drugs and Violence In Public Schools

Many public schools not only fail to educate our children, they can also be dangerous places. These schools are a natural breeding ground for drugs and violence. Children are packed into classrooms with twenty or more other immature children or teenagers, all the same age. Here, peer pressure becomes socialization, pushing many children into using drugs and alcohol.

Put twenty teenagers in the same room, or hundreds of teenagers in the same school, and you have a breeding ground for violence. Young boys and girls have raging hormones and budding sexuality, and male teenage testosterone levels are high. Teenagers are in the half-child, half-adult stage of life and often lack judgment and are emotionally immature.

Pack these teenagers together into cramped little classrooms, six to eight hours a day, and you have a mixture that can lead to trouble. It's inevitable that violence will break out-it's built into the system.

Also, even the most conscientious teacher is usually too busy and overworked to give children the individual attention they need. Critics of home-schooling often say that home-schoolers don't get proper socialization. However, so-called socialization in public schools is often cruel and violent. Bullying, peer pressure, racial cliques, sexual tensions, and competition for the teacher's approval all create a stressful, sometimes violent environment.

Compulsory-attendance laws also contribute to violence in the schools. In most states, these laws force children to stay in school until they are sixteen years old or graduate high school. Teenagers who hate school, or are aggressive or potentially violent sociopaths, can't leave. As a result, they often take out their hatred and aggression on other students. Those children want to learn are forced to endure bullying and violence by these troubled teens.

Also, the law is on the side of violent or disruptive students who are classified as "disabled." In 1975, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Based on this legislation, in 1988 the Supreme Court ruled that schools could not remove disruptive disabled children from classrooms without a parent's consent. If parents don't consent, teachers are out of luck. Those 'disabled' children who are socially impaired, can't get along with other kids, or sometimes turn violent, therefore fall under this category. Of course, this adds yet another layer of potentially violent children who teachers can't remove from class.

Violence in public schools can literally kill your child. In the 2000-2001 school year, students were victims of about 1.9 million nonfatal violent crimes such as rape, assault, and robbery. This figure equals about 9,000 violent incidents every school day throughout America, or about one every three seconds.

Public schools are also a drug pusher's heaven. Thousands of teenagers, pushed by intense peer-pressure, smoke, drink beer, and try marijuana or hard drugs. Schools put hundreds of children together in one big building or courtyard. Mix in overworked or indifferent teachers who have little time or desire to supervise extracurricular activities. That's why drug pushers circle schoolyards like vultures. Where else can they find groups of vulnerable victims all herded together for their convenience? Is it any wonder that drug and alcohol use is a major problem in public schools?

In the 2001-2002 school year, 34.9 percent of tenth-grade students surveyed said they had smoked cigarettes within the past year. Fifty-one and two tenths percent said they had drunk beer, and 33.4 percent said they got bombed on that beer. Also, 29.8 percent of the same tenth-grade students said they had smoked marijuana within the past year, and 78.7 percent of these marijuana users said they got "bombed or very high" on it.

When children are home-schooled, parents can advise and watch over their kids. At home, there is no peer pressure to try drugs, as there is in public schools. Drug pushers don't hover around private residences.

Parents should therefore ask themselves: Do my children belong in violent, drug-infested public schools? Are there other education options for my children? In "Public Schools, Public Menace," I discuss many quality, low-cost education options parents can use right now if they decide to take their children out of public school.

Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst, and author of "Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children." Contact Information: Website: http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, Email: [email protected], Phone: 718-447-7348. Article Copyrighted © 2005 by Joel Turtel. NOTE: You may post this Article on another website only if you set up a hyperlink to Joel Turtel's email address and website URL, http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com.

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