Violence at schools spiraling out of control

By Sarah Pastor
October 11, 2007

College is supposed to be a place where students live, learn, grow as individuals and prepare for successful entrance into the workforce. But lately, universities across the country are also becoming grounds for massive acts of violence and tragedy.

Last spring’s devastating shootings at Virginia Tech made U.S. history as the most deadly school shooting on record with 32 fatalities and thousands of physical and psychological wounds that may never heal.

Trials for suspects in the Jena Six case, which has been deemed as attempted second degree murder of a white student by six black students at Jena High School in Louisiana, are currently underway.

Even Cabrini’s seemingly serene and peaceful campus was struck by an unexpected stabbing during the Spring Fling of the 2006 spring semester. With new acts of student violence surfacing nearly every semester, university campuses are proving to be a dangerous place to get an education.

No justification is ever enough to explain the tragic event of a school violence incident, but there does seem to be a common factor shared by many acts of campus violence across the nation.

Nearly all of the violent events can be traced back to some form of discrimination or racism between the perpetrator and the victims.

In the Virginia Tech massacre, shooter Cho Seung-Hui left hours of footage explaining why he had felt the need to murder so many innocent people. The recording was aired on national television and featured Seung-Hui’s rants about “ungrateful, spoiled rich brats.”

Seung-Hui, a Japanese American born in the country, felt so much resentment towards his fellow students that he found it necessary to go on a shooting rampage resulting in the death of five college professors and 27 students.

The Jena 6 case began from the innocent attempt to sit under the so -called “white tree.” The tree was supposedly unofficially claimed by only white students.

The morning following this incident nooses were found hanging from the tree.

This sparked a series of interracial tension between the school’s students, leading up to the attack and hospitalization of one white male after being struck and repeatedly kicked by a group of six black students.

It seems ridiculous that discrimination between students of different backgrounds is severe enough to warrant such violence, but attacks such as these are becoming more prevalent every year.

I am shocked that school violence has reached such destructive levels.

When I came to Cabrini I felt more than safe on such a small, isolated campus. School shootings and other violent episodes seemed impossible to affect Cabrini’s conservative and prestigious student body. The stabbing in the Spring of 2006 proved that even small, private colleges are not exempt from discrimination violence within the student community.

Violence on school campuses has been widely publicized by the media. I think that while any major event deserves to be covered on the news, delving into the disturbing specifics of school shootings, stabbings or other acts of violence is sometimes more upsetting than effective.

I worry that a troubled student somewhere will see the horrific events and become motivated to imitate them at their own high school or university.

While students should be aware of the potential for discrimination and violence in any scholastic setting, coverage should not be so overwhelming that it interferes with the main reason for going to college: a quality education.

Sarah Pastor

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