An Eye-Opening Tragedy: School Violence

[/caption] Akira Jennings Staff Writer On September 24, 16-year-old Derrion Albert was beaten to death at Fenger high school. While many sources claim the violence was gang related, the truth behind the deadly feud was the neighborhood rivalries that have been going on for years. The rivalry was between those that lived in the Altgeld Garden area and those that lived near Fenger in an area known as “The Ville”. It began when Carver high school, a recently turned military academy with selective enrollment, closed its doors to most local students and transferred them to Fenger, the neighborhood high school of the “Ville” residents. Unable to cooperate and tolerate each other’s presence, the two neighborhoods have turned Fenger’s environment into one of hostility and danger. So how does this affect us? Far too often we ignorantly pass through life not paying attention to anything beyond our own lives. While some students do value safety, many deem it as another trivial aspect of school life. When past robberies and incidents in the park occurred within the Latin school community, many were shocked to find just how vulnerable Latin students are. Because Latin has been a safe haven for so many years, students have placed themselves in an alternate reality in which we are invincible and free from danger. While Latin has maintained certain principles that have kept students in line, anything can happen and we must be prepared. While fire drills are classic practices, our school should have more efficient lock down drills that can be heard and taken more seriously. Latin should offer more lectures on safety so that if a violent incident does occur, we will be more equipped and ready to handle the situation. We as students should also learn to become more aware of our surroundings and take heed to any safety tips when given. While many Latin students have never heard the trials of public school life, the evident issues within them are a harsh reality that we must all open our eyes to and learn from. Instead of being promoters of change, we ignore problems within our own communities as they inconvenience our daily plans. As sophomores and freshman we painstakingly, complete our service hours with intentions not of virtue but because we were forced to. We eagerly sign up for the quickest and less laborious tasks in hopes to simply get our hours over with. What many students fail to realize however, is that service learning is not just an underclassmen requirement, but should become self-requirements through our own desires to better our community. Our school motto, “kindness manners and civility”, should not just be used at times of convenience, but should be embedded in our mentalities beyond our Latin years. In doing so we can become a place in which all students can feel accepted despite the steadily growing differences in ethnicities, neighborhoods, and backgrounds. Although Latin and Fenger are completely different environments, they share common needs of community and safety. If such values were stressed and promoted with government aid, not only would there be a stronger sense of unity within Fenger and many Chicago publics schools, but there would be fewer fights, tears, and deaths amongst them. Although this is one of the few instances in which a public school brawl has been publicized, such events have been going on for years, as there have been countless mobs, shootings, and fights. While Albert’s death was indeed tragic, it has opened many eyes to the problems within Chicago public schools and has expressed the importance of both community and safety in and out of school.]]>