Are schools holding assailants accountable?


Brooke Graves

The front of Don Lugo High School; Front of the office where students will be able to meet school staff and counselors

Brooke Graves, Web Editor-In-Chief

Bullying, sexual harassment, and racism are all things that occur at schools across the nation. The problem is these topics are often covered up, never to be heard again. Zero tolerance policy, open door policy, tell your teachers, all these techniques are great in theory but seem to never apply in practice. In an effort to enroll more students and increase their image, schools tend to overlook or silence the very students walking their halls for years or for the very first time.
Schools have had issues concerning students and serious topics from the beginning of time, however schools have been complacent in actually addressing these issues and how they affect their students since forever. According to research found in a study by, a new questionnaire found there had actually been 3,265 incidents of hate and bias in the fall of 2018 alone, with 57% of these incidents resulting in no discipline and 9 times out of 10 administrators didn’t denounce the behavior or reaffirm standards against this behavior. Additionally, on the topic of sexual harassment and assault in schools, concluded that based off of statistics from the Department of Education, one could estimate that 5 million students are currently being sexually harassed, manipulated, and abused in America’s public school system.
With statistics like these, how will any student feel safe in our schools and walking the halls knowing that their harassers and people who hate them simply based on prejudice continue to walk beside them with the chance of attacking them again? Districts continue to brush off these vile behaviors and make us question whether it is the students or instead the number of students walking their halls that is more important. When it comes to whether we will keep our children safe or choose to be complacent and enable the damaging behaviors around us, it seems we have a clear answer.
Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and multiple other mental and physical effects come from traumatic events such as hate crimes or sexual harassment, yet the school system chooses to continue to be complacent while at the same time preaching positivity towards mental health. “I have a friend who killed themselves because they were raped. Because they will refuse to do anything. Because the school refused to take legal action to report it to the police. She killed herself because of that. And that school is still up and running,” quotes an anonymous interviewee. Some victims don’t feel safe walking by themselves, being alone in new places by themselves or even going somewhere as simple as the restroom as being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be game over for them. Others worry they will have to pretend to not be bothered by the microaggressions said to them by their peers, ignore the constant slurs said to them or around them and be brushed off with a “what can we do about it” attitude about the hate they face.
Schools across the nation repeatedly show their lack of care for their students, shielding assailants and racists and continuing to allow them in environments around victims and potential victims. When even taking action against these people and making an effort to get away from the assault, our schools choose to be on the attackers side. “I have a friend who was trying to switch classes because she’d been constantly sexually harassed by a guy in one of her classes. And the counselors refused to change her schedule,” quotes an anonymous interviewee. With some cases going as far as students having to transfer schools, this still isn’t a guaranteed solution as assault, racism, hate, and bigotry are all problems in every inch of the globe. The constant battle of a lose-lose situation for our students creates a familiar pattern within our schools, especially when issues like dress code and phone policies take priority over the actual legal issues brewing underneath the surface.
When will this stop? When will they care? These aren’t fair results for victims and it continues to be unfair that the places that should be safe for them aren’t. This makes the public wonder what lengths we have to go to for justice and what other issues our schools have hidden from us, only waiting to be unleashed upon our students for consequences the administrators themselves won’t bear.
Lack of accountability in holding up not only school standards but ethical and moral standards is a direct cause in the problems happening within our schools. When statistics from over 3,000 incidents show an eye-opening 90% rate of administrators turning a blind eye to our students, one cannot choose to sit down and be silent, as it could be you next no matter who you are. In order for change to happen, we have to hold our schools, peers and close associates accountable and refuse to justify this behavior, creating safe school environments not only for ourselves but for the students after us.