Should Penalties for Weapons in Schools Be Stiffer?
Turn on the national news and it’s very likely you’re going to hear yet another story about a child or teen that’s been shot or stabbed at school or on school property or at some school related event. People have been hearing this type of news for years and for those who have been unable to turn away and pretend that the violence in schools has not escalated, there is also growing concern over the number of weapons that are being brought into schools by students.
There are school legislations that impose strict penalties for any student who brings a weapon into the premises, to a school sponsored event such as a game or dance or around school property such as the parking lot or a school bus. These penalties are enforced and provide enough of a deterrent for many students to keep them from even thinking about bringing a knife or gun to school.
Unfortunately, however these penalties are not enough for many students who feel like the only way to attend school safely is to come to school with a weapon. Additionally, there are students who make the choice to bring a weapon to school with the intention of harming those around them. It bears the question if there should be stiffer penalties for weapons that are brought into school. Perhaps still a question because if existing penalties are not a deterrent, would stiffer penalties pose the possibility of decreasing gun presence in schools?
Stiffer penalties would certainly require more input from enforcers, whether school officials or law enforcement. Some suggest that perhaps penalties should be stiffer for parents or guardians rather than students themselves who bring weapons to school. Many argue that such is not the case, particularly with teens that have a stronger sense of responsibility and are more aware of the consequences of their actions than elementary-aged children.
Metal detectors were believed to be a wise solution to the problem of weapons being brought into schools. To some extent, they have helped to deter weapons and violence in school but schools that cannot afford metal detectors are still faced with weapons issues. Additional, there are some schools that regard metal detectors as imprisoning the students and are not in favor of them.
The bottom line is that there is room for penalties to be strengthened but the determination that needs to be made is what benefit can be derived from stiffer penalties against students who bring weapons to school without acknowledging the problem that exists of where students are able to obtain guns and other weapons to bring to school in the first place; this is the real question and perhaps where the penalties should be stiffened.