Take a Stand

By Haley Zuilkoski ‘25

A couple of months ago, my school got threatened to be shot up by students on social media. What would’ve happened if the school didn’t do anything about it? If schools let their students post things on social media that spread violence, that school will no longer be a safe space. With schools having the right to punish students who say violent things off campus, they can ensure that their other students will come back to a safe learning environment. Schools should be able to punish students from what they say off campus, because it takes away danger from the students, and punishes those who talk about school shootings, fighting, or those who are bullying others. 

When you were little and were in school, if you said something mean, you would be put in timeout, or punished in some other way. The same rules apply in school, but as you get older you should be able to know right from wrong. For those students who don’t, they disrupt the learning environment at their school. Often on social media, kids will post bad things about fellow classmates, school administrators, etc. Some older kids will take it a step further and threaten to shoot up their school. Those students most likely were the outcome of being bullied. If schools have the right to punish those kids who threaten people or the school, the threat will be no more. Kids can go back to school the next day without being worried they’ll be killed by lunch. According to the Sandy Hook Promise, since 1970 more than 1,316 school shootings have happened in the US. Gun violence is a huge issue in America. If schools have the right resources to stop kids from even thinking about it, the school will be a much better place. 

One out of five students have reported being bullied. Because of social media, it’s easy for those to be bullied. Cyberbullying happens to almost everyone. Bullying can have long term effects on people and crush their mental health. If schools can take action against bullying, and punish those who bully, students can have peace of mind knowing they won’t be bullied anymore. As my grandma always said, most bullies were once bullied themselves. If we treat people with kindness, even the mean ones, they’ll be kind to others as well. A lot of bullying happens outside of school and online. Schools can suspend, give detention, or talk to the bullies. 

Schools should be able to punish students for what they say off campus because it takes the danger away from students. School shootings, fighting and bullying are just a few examples of what schools and their students have to deal with. When CV had the school shooting threat, my dad (the superintendent) was working all night on it. Because of the Safe-To-Say program, and the help of my friends, the school administrators were able to know about the threat and put an end to it. My dad called the police and they began working with CV in investigating. That night the kids who threatened the school were dealt with and it was safe to return the next day. Without the school taking the proper action against the kids, I wouldn’t be writing this  today. CV was able to punish these kids because of what they said outside of school, and end the threat of a school shooting. 

Some might say that the school would be taking away the students First Amendment right of free speech. It’s not free speech when you are threatening to do violent acts towards another and/or your own school. Without the school taking action, the students are allowed to insinuate violence and make other students feel unsafe. Half of my friends didn’t come into school the next day at CV because they were afraid. Students’ free speech off campus made my fellow classmates afraid of stepping foot onto school grounds, and for that there needs to be some limits to what constitutes free speech. 

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