Violence needs to be knocked out of Huntley High School

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It is time for Huntley High School students to stop using violence to settle conflicts with their peers. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Zoe Emerson

It is no secret that most students at Huntley High School are under a considerable amount of stress. From homework to exams, personal lives to jobs, students have no shortage of stressors. However, there is one stressor that can have a significantly greater impact on students; peer conflicts. 

Peer conflicts can vary in severity, duration, and origin. Some conflicts are minor and can be solved in minutes. However, some conflicts can escalate to the point where it can get physical. 

As of late, HHS has seen an increase of physical violence among students. Many students have heard about fights via word of mouth, and it is almost certain that video footage of fights have been captured on students’ cell phones. 

According to Dean Jim Stotz, physical altercations between students tend to stand out more than other types of altercations, leading to them sticking in the minds of students more. 

“I think COVID has played a big part, and I think everybody [is] a little bit on edge,” Stotz said. “I think COVID has to be looked at as a traumatic event. Humans are emotional animals.”

Students have a wide variety of opinions on how the administration handles physical altercations between students. Although consequences aren’t directly released due to confidentiality, it is known that administration takes physical altercations very seriously. 

“The potential consequences are not black and white. We talk about the incident, why the incident may have happened, and who was involved. All of these different things play into it,” Stotz said. “We look at physical altercations as safety issues in our building, which can lead to bigger consequences.”

Most students can agree that fighting has no place in our school. Fights can be considered a safety hazard, not only for those involved, but for bystanders and members of administration. 

Sophomore Vicky Virgilio shares that she feels safe at school with her teachers and peers because campus supervisors are quick to react when violence does occur. 

“I feel that [administration does] all that they can. It can be difficult to predict what a student is capable of, especially when breaking up a fight between two students. I feel that they are quick to react,” Virgilio said. “Students are constantly reminded of the expectation of being a Red Raider. At the end of the day, it’s the students making the decision to get into fights.”

Each and every student has a right to feel safe at school and be free of the threat of physical harm. Additionally, every student is responsible for their own actions. Choosing to engage in a fight can have severe long-term consequences. 

It is important for administrators to help teach students about the alternatives to physical violence. Physical violence gets nobody anywhere, and there are several diplomatic and tactful ways of solving problems without hurting someone physically. 

“We need to be more mature about how we deal with conflicts and problem solve through those. I think the administration has looked at different alternatives, such as peer mediation. We also take a very restorative approach to things, which means we’re going to talk and  educate and find out what the root problem is,” Stotz said. “I think that if we are not addressing the root problem but the things that are superficial on the surface, we are not really fixing the problem. If we can resolve problems without them getting physical, we are looking for solutions and not consequences.”

All in all, the student body and the administration have to work together to prevent the spread of violence in our school. If each student does their part to stop violence, Huntley High School can become a safer place for all students. 

“Being violent is not cool. Strength is not determined by who wins in a fight,” Virgilio said. “The person who is brave enough to put their feelings aside and walk away from tempting arguments is stronger and will always win in the long run.”