An American Epidemic Essay Research Paper An

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An American Epidemic Essay, Research Paper An American Epidemic In modern times, nobody who reads the newspapers or watches television can avoid the chilling fate that our country faces. School violence is a rapidly growing trend in America, and it seems to be there is nothing we can do to stop it. The offenders are from all races and social classes. They range from the high school hero to the high school dropout. It often seems the only thing they have in common is an utter disregard for their own life and the lives of others. In the following accounts, taken straight from American headlines, harrowing events fit for blockbuster fiction prove that our country is becoming victim to a new criminal: youthful rage. In generations past, the high school rebel was the boy all the

girls wanted and all the boys wanted to be. He was the one in the leather jacket who went to class only to make snide remarks, drove too fast, and talked too slow. Jump forward to the end of the twentieth century, and the high school rebel is the boy who students ignore, the one who sits in the back of the classroom and never talks, wears all black and keeps to himself. He is the last student anyone would fear, but probably the most dangerous. He doesn t want to take advantage of those who are smaller than him, but wants to seek vengeance on those who have hurt him, basically everyone. He, in fact, is sometimes a she. Of course, offenders can t be classified into one group. Many times it is the last person you would ever imagine. That is the way it happened for Chester Jackson, a

Detroit high school football star. Chester was a seventeen-year-old hero, a senior who had reached godlike status due to his work for the school football team. But if you ask his high school friends of their memories of Chester, they will not remember him running down the football field, but running down the hall, trying to save his own life. Like so many students, Chester found it amusing to tease the underclassmen. Particularly a fourteen-year-old freshman boy that was unable to defend himself when Chester and his friends pushed him in his own locker and secured the combination lock for three consecutive classes. That was the event they say made the boy snap. He brought a gun to school the next day, and even with all of his football training, Chester could not run fast enough

to save his own life. He was the first student ever killed in a Michigan high school. Unfortunately, Chester s story is not an isolated incident. School shootings are now a common occurrence. A place that used to be considered a safe haven is now turning into a death trap. Where lockers and drinking fountains used to be found there are now metal detectors and armed guards. Detroit high schools have expelled fifteen students since Chester s murder inspired them to install metal detectors. Each of the students was carrying a loaded gun. Chester s death also resulted in the now nation wide Barron Assessment and Counseling Center, a program designed to encourage youths to exchange their weapons for books. Marva Collins, principal of a Chicago Public School, sees the starting of these

groups as bittersweet. (These) Centers are extremely helpful, and have the right idea in mind, but how many children are going to have to die before our nation sits up and pays attention. Will mine be the next? In 1994, children under 18 were 244% more likely to be killed by guns than they were in 1986. Gun owners of all ages state that their number one reason for owning a handgun is protection from criminals, yet they are 43 times as likely to kill a friend or family member than they are a criminal. In the 1980 s it appeared that teen pregnancy was going to be the downfall of American society, but as Marion Wright Edelman, president of the children s advocacy group puts it, The crisis of children having children has been eclipsed by the greater crisis of children killing