Mr. Daniel Hefner suggested Journal that the high school implement major changes in operations and student life policies to deter gang activity. [OPRF should follow Morton on uniforms, Viewpoints, July 23]
He stated that such changes are necessary because “the world is a different place now than it was 10 years ago.” I wholeheartedly agree with this point, but I suggest that the best way to protect Oak Park‘s students may be a step further back. Uniforms, metal detectors, and other changes Mr. Hefner suggests may very well protect the high school from gang activity, but these changes will not necessarily eliminate gang activity. I am a current college student working toward teacher certification, and in my studies I have come to the conclusion that the permanent solution to gang activity in schools (or any circumstances harmful to the learning environment) is to keep the students out of the gangs.
The high school has a responsibility to the community to protect its students from involvement with gangs. I am not implying that the high school’s faculty or administration are the reason that gang activity exists in Oak Park. I am an alumnus of the high school, and I speak from personal experience that the faculty are excellent role models and confidants for their students. However, I am suggesting that the high school might consider using its resources to help its faculty catch students before they become involved with gangs.
The unfortunate reality of today’s world is that people who are intent on committing crimes are often clever enough to get around defensive apparatus, so catching the criminal before he or she becomes a criminal is the surest way to go.