Oak Park and River Forest High School has dashed my hopes of being respected as a student through implementation of new rules this year. Students are forced to wear IDs. If caught not wearing IDs, teachers or security guards yell at or chase us until we put it on. In class, teachers demand that IDs be worn, in fear that a supervisor may be spying on them and report their inability to enforce the ID policy. Most punitive are the new lunchroom rules. Students must scan to leave at lunch. Outside, police cars circumnavigate the building. If a student leaves without scanning out, alarms on the doors sound.
Additionally, unexcused absences or a failing grade result in restricted lunch. For many students, lunch is the time of day when they recharge their batteries so they can focus on the rest of their day.
Rules have overtaken the high school. Equally disappointing is the stance the security guards have been forced to take. Instead of providing a safe learning environment for students, they yell at students for wearing hats, not wearing IDs, not cleaning their lunch table, and talking loudly in the cafeteria. Instead of protecting the students, they are harassing them. Clearly, security has gone overboard.
OPRF is not alone in adopting overbearing security policies. In airports, new body scanners scan your whole body, inside out. Afterward, an airport security officer pats down your whole body. Cellphone companies keep records of every text message and phone call their clients make. Credit card companies monitor people's spending patterns so that entering certain stores triggers advertisement boards to project items likely to hook the consumer into buying. Cameras on traffic lights wait for you to be one inch over the line so they can squeeze $150 out of you. Police officers search teenagers when they have no right or reasonable suspicion to do so. These ludicrous security parameters prompt the question, what is the benefit of such extreme measures?
There is no benefit. After a few incidents of breached security such as 9/11, corporations realize they can reap tremendous profit off of people's fear. So airports install million-dollar full-body scanners in airports.
In America, the land of the free, democracy has failed. Government and large businesses exploit our rights to privacy and freedom. Taxes steal away half of people's paychecks to fix government mistakes. Corporations commit criminal acts of tax evasion through loopholes. Those evaded taxes funnel down to the working class. Democracy has turned into the majority of America doing all the work and making less profit than ever, while the few large corporations dictate our financial and social fates.
How does this pertain to OPRF? The world, like OPRF, is shifting toward being a "lanyard-wearing" society. Those who should be protecting us will abuse us and ignore our rights as humans. Cameras everywhere will monitor our every move. The few of us who realize the injustices happening will be stifled, whether by a detention for refusing to wear a lanyard or being shocked with a stun gun and handcuffed for protesting outside corporate buildings.
Teachers should not have to fear that supervisors might be spying on them. Students should not have to fear security guards. People should not work hard all day to come home and get half of the money they deserve. Corporations should not be allowed to commit criminal acts without prosecution.
When asking the staff at OPRF why these measures are necessary, the same answer is always repeated: "Because every school has them."
My question to OPRF is: If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?
Chris Farruggia is a student at OPRF High School.
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.
|Submit Letter To The Editor|
|Place a Classified Ad|