In recent years there's been a trend in schools in America. It's been advancing throughout the nineties, and the last three years, full of school shootings in suburbia, have only made it worse. It's been called everything from 'the Columbine Effect' to barely sufficient protection. I call it paranoia.
The massacre at Columbine has made an already bad situation worse. An attitude that had already brought about school uniforms, caused the extinction of hats in most schools on the ludicrous grounds that they could be used as gang symbols (it has not been explained how removing such 'symbols' will reduce gang violence, nor admitted that if gangs wanted symbols they could use anything from dyed hair to tattoos to untied shoelaces) has mutated to a Twilight Zone where fingernail clippers are deadly weapons, blue hair signifies a violent and anti-social teen, and a prank on a fifth grade teacher involving soap and drinking water is a threat to life and limb.
These are cases which any clear mind could see are barely causes for detention- but in this brave new world, equal expulsion and even trouble with the law. Even at our own schools, we've all seen people's outfits changed because of the so-called security threats they posed. We all also know how inefficient schools are at handling student problems. More often than not, the sexual harassment is misunderstood or even misheard, the physical assault is a mountain of exaggeration, and the foul language is a slip of the tongue.
Of course, there's nothing we as students can do about this. The people with the power, however, can. So, teachers, principals, parents, I urge you to step back and think with perspective before overreacting. If this is not enough to prevent a second Columbine in your eyes, then there is a simple answer. Almost without exceptions, teen shooters are outcasts, kids who have to put up with constant insults or whispered remarks that they were meant to hear. Though the current system rarely helps these kids, anyone in a class could tell you the person with the fewest reasons not to throw their life away- and the most reasons to do so by 'getting back' at their tormenters. And, if by some far chance, you can find these individuals, don't just send them on their way via expulsion: help them. Only then will things start to get better, instead of worse.