LETTER: Students are out of control

Published 12:50 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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To the Editor:

This letter serves as an open plea to all parents and guardians in Southampton County to, please, get these children under control. I currently have two children that attend Southampton Middle School and the things they witness daily are outrageous. In just the last month alone, I have been shown multiple video clips of fights at school that are being posted to social media accounts or distributed amongst the students. The children involved in these outbursts are completely out of control and dangerous. There is a clear disconnect between the students’ behavior at school and their home lives. Sure, when I was in school there were fights. It’s inevitable that there will be arguments and altercations. The issue lies in the administration’s handling of these events. Starting with the top superintendent and principals, and working all the way down to the teachers, staff, and fellow students – it takes everyone to make a difference. Many of the staff in our schools are either too afraid to step in during a situation like this or just completely look the other way. We are expecting our children to be safe when they go to school, though that is becoming less and less of an assurance and more of a hope and prayer. I can only personally speak to the state of the middle school since I have no students in the high school. Thanks to the new principals that took position in the middle school this year there have been major attempts at making change. Punishments for these children need to be strict and unwavering. Regardless of reason, they should be getting punished for any threatening behavior, fighting, and filming and distributing videos of these events. While I know it would be very difficult to track and punish these students, it is possible. The students need to keep the cell phones put away during school hours. There is no reason that I can agree with cell phones to be so readily available while they are in a learning environment. Yes, they should be able to have the phones, but they do not need to be out at all. Parents, it starts with you. I urge you to at least talk with your children. Ask them what is happening in their schools. Ask them if they are seeing things that scare them and what they see is being done to address these issues. I can assure you there is plenty more going on in these schools than what is being revealed to the community. Public education has taken a beating the last few years. It will take some time for our systems to recover but we need to do all we can to help the process. Holding our children accountable for their actions and reminding them daily that school is a place to learn is where we need to start. If we want our youth to grow to be successful, responsible adults then we need to mold them into respectful, contributing members of their current society.

Amy Jenkins Drake