School deals with few altercations, serious crimes

Jack Stornello, Staff Reporter

What can be done to solve the issue of violence? It’s been a significant problem in Chicago for years, showing no signs of slowing down. There’s a high likelihood you’ve already heard reports of over a thousand acts of gun violence in the city this year. It’s widely known that violence is a major dilemma in the city, but what about around here, a little closer to home? Furthermore, how do we go about rectifying the situation?

To be able to devise solutions effectively, you must first understand the causes. You must fully grasp the reasons why these things happen in order to fix them with any degree of success. An approach from both a psychological standpoint as well as a law enforcement one must be taken.

“I think there’s various things,” Dr. Marla Carson said. “I think [with] students a lot of times there’s a relationship issue that maybe people are fighting over. Somebody, obviously on the outside there are probably gang issues that spark the violence. I think people may be having difficulty with managing their anger for whatever reason.”

“I think some of the stuff here at Elk Grove, sometimes you have personality conflicts, school related stuff, something’s said on social media, friendships come and go and dissolve quickly,” Officer Shaun Berens said. “I think a lot of the physical altercations we have here at school are a result of that.”

Once the underlying source of the problem is acknowledged, steps can be taken to address it. According to Dr. Carson, school psychologist, several solutions present themselves in the form of “teaching coping strategies, teaching anger management skills, [and] getting people together to work out differences with a mediator.”

Continually, social media seems to play a key role in both the causes and solutions to this issue.

“I think mediation and people having conversations with each other about stuff goes a long way,” Berens said. “Also, telling an adult if it’s something you can’t handle on your own. Having said that, also, don’t let social media be such a major part of your life. If you feel someone’s saying something about you, it’s a good idea to talk about those things and not resort to anything physical.”

As to how prevalent an issue this really is within the school, things appear to be looking up. Both Berens and Carson concur in the belief that violence in our local area is on the decline.

“I don’t really know much about Elk Grove in general, because I don’t live in the community,” Carson said. “But I think our fights have been down significantly over the past few years, so I don’t hear too much about them.”

“The high school itself, this is my second year, we’ve had a handful of fights,” Berens said. “But the amount of serious crimes are few and far between. In case there is an altercation, they both can be charged under local ordinance. I wouldn’t say there are violent tendencies within the building.”

Ultimately, while violence is a major issue closer to the city, our local area appears to be comparatively safe. Knowing that not only is the problem not exceedingly prevalent, but that there are also many ways to remedy said problem when it does arise, should provide many with a certain degree of comfort. With information such as this, one can undoubtedly sleep much better at night.