Kids packing pistols has been a tremendous problem at schools across America. In Grand Rapids, MI, the school officials have had enough. After four separate incidents of finding pistols on students and three of them in backpacks, they have decided that enough is enough. They are joining Flint as the only two districts in the state to outright ban backpacks. While Flint is allowing kits to use clear bags, no word has been released about Grand Rapids yet.
According to the executive director of public safety in the Grand Rapids school district, “We have averted at least two tragedies in the last two weeks. We don’t want to stand before you again.” A similar message came from District Superintendent Leadriane Roby during a news conference on May 10th. There she expressed that while some might feel the district was overreacting, it was necessary.
These kinds of changes aren’t doing anything to address any underlying problems in their student population or community.
First off, if these kids are bringing pistols to class like this, there is a reason for it. Bullies, dangerous walks to and from school, problems at home, mental health issues; take your pick. A good way to find out is to simply ask. Someone knows, and someone is willing to rat out the truth. Finding this out is the first step toward addressing the problem.
Secondly, you are now putting students in a very awkward spot. In cold climates like Michigan, schoolbooks should be carried in a bag, not exposed to the elements. Much the same, laptops (school or personal) need to be protected from the elements. With the humid and wet weather that permeates the state, they need these bags to keep supplies safe. Without them, you have effectively ended a reasonable expectation for homework.
Thirdly, other districts have gone to other more reasonable, and easily implemented ideas. In urban schools especially a policy of metal detectors and wands has been common. Employing school resource officers to guard and protect the school is also another alternative. No matter what they choose, it provides a much better idea than a backpack ban.
More to the point, without another solution to help support the no-bags ban, they are begging kids to learn the finer points of concealed carrying if they are that set on having a pistol with them. While not a difficult task in the first place, when you take away other options you force them into making that decision.
Given the status of their factories and the decline in the economy, the people of Grand Rapids are already facing a tremendous uphill battle on reclaiming their city. Losing the youth to gun violence is not a solution for keeping their city safe, and it certainly isn’t the key to returning to prosperity any time soon.
Kids carrying guns to school has gone from being a normal thing in rural parking lots as of the 80s to a massive danger as of the 2000s. Back then these rural kids knew the value of a life and took it to get good for their family or to keep themselves safe. Even the city kids largely kept away from it, and the gangs wanted them to stay away from it.
Now, everything is backward for these kids. Hunting is an evil idea, and pushing your agenda with the threat of force is just another normal Tuesday to them. Banning these backpacks won’t change that for them. Only a change in the way the country is being run and the way the adults set the example for them will be the difference maker and give them hope for the future as one. Not as individuals.