<2012EEC_Winner’s Remarks & Essay>
High School Division
Pursuing My Dreams with Essays
By Noh Eun-young, Second Grade, Gwangju Jungang Girl’s High School
My heart races when I pioneer the route which is off the beaten track. When I make my own world using just one tool on a blank piece of paper, I feel ecstatic. Writing essays is like oxygen to me. I need to express my many whimsical and profound thoughts. Manifesting my ideas in written form was a difficult task for me, especially in a foreign language. I was startled and in seventh heaven when I received the call that I had won a grand prize, which was an unexpected honor. It may have been the most distinctly pleasing moment for me this year. This prize is very meaningful to me, as I aim to become either an English teacher working to help students in the future or a businesswoman living in the United States. Thank you once again for awarding me this great prize.
Delinquency Records as a Key for Prevention
By Noh Eun-young, Second Grade, Gwangju Jungang Girl’s High School
The fear of physical pain is a primal instinct. We try to avoid it whenever we can. Sadly, some people still commit the barbarous act of inflicting pain on others through violence. For many children avoiding this threat in school takes up much of their energy that should be used for learning. To provide students with a safe learning environment, school violence needs to be eradicated. Maintaining delinquency records for ten years after graduation is a good way to come closer to achieving this.
First of all, the use of violence is a reprehensible act that has no place in schools. In modern society, violence is not acceptable and students need to learn this early. They depend on schools to provide an optimal learning environment, and parents also place trust in schools to protect and educate their children at school. Children spend a lot of time at school, and this is where most of their social interactions take place. Therefore, it is imperative that schools teach appropriate social behavior and discipline students who use violence. This could help decrease violence in society as a whole. While some people may think that students are too young to understand the consequences of violence, the harm to victims is very real, and more severe punishment for violent offenders could help them to realize that. Victims of violence may not only feel uncomfortable or unsafe at school, but they may suffer long-term psychological damage. Some students drop out of school because of violence and bullying, and in some extreme cases victims have committed suicide. Not only is it unfair to victims to go easy on violent offenders; it can fail to teach the offenders to correct their behavior before it’s too late.
Secondly, keeping delinquency records for ten years after graduation can help teachers and school administrators maintain more authority over their schools and students. Recently, the ability of schools to discipline students has been limited by concerns about the rights of students and the abuse of authority by schools. While these measures have had positive effects, they have also limited the authority of teachers and have made it difficult for teachers to maintain safe and productive learning environments. Students realize that teachers have less power to punish them, so delinquent students often take advantage of this to break the rules and disrespect authority. Not only does this harm the learning environment, but it also teaches students the wrong lessons. When they finish school they will live in a society where they must obey the laws and respect authorities. Having a school environment where this order is not in place does not adequately prepare students to be productive members of society after graduation. By keeping records of students’ violent behavior for ten years after school, teachers can regain the authority they need to maintain order in the classroom by making the consequences of violent behavior closer to the punishment they would receive for committing such crimes as adults.
Finally, records of students’ behavior in school are just as important to understanding students, as their academic records are. Students are meant to learn more than just academic subjects while studying in school. Learning how to cooperate with others and contribute to society are also important lessons for students. Throughout life, people need to deal with conflict, and they need to learn the skills necessary to deal with these conflicts effectively without resorting to violence. People who use students’ records to evaluate students for university admissions or for job applications should have an idea not only of the students’ academic grades, but also of the students’ abilities to deal with conflict effectively and to follow the rules and laws that are expected of them.
Some people may argue that maintaining records of violent behavior by students for ten years after they graduate is a violation of students’ rights and unfairly hinders them from having opportunities to improve themselves after they get out of school. This is based on the ideas that since students are still learning they should not be held responsible for mistakes that they make when they are young. They assume students will not repeat such mistakes. However, many students who commit violence do so more than once. In fact, more than 29% of middle school students who commit violent offenses will do so again. Thus, rather than being a one-time mistake, under the current system violent behavior becomes a more consistent problem for some students. A record of students’ violent behavior presents a more accurate portrayal of how they are likely to behave. If a student makes a one-time mistake, it will be evident in the record that the behavior has not been repeated. For students who are repeat offenders, this will be shown in the record as well. That information is important in helping university admissions teams and job application reviewers evaluate applicants more effectively. Also, these records are not permanent. If a student reforms his or her behavior, the record will be cleared after ten years. A ten-year record is therefore an effective compromise to more effectively fight violence in schools while still giving students who do commit violence a chance to learn from their behavior and overcome their mistakes.
School violence is a serious problem that needs to be addressed more effectively. Schools need more authority to discipline violent students in order to create safer learning environments and teach students how to behave appropriately in society as adults. By maintaining records of violent behavior by students for ten years after graduation, schools can regain the authority to discipline students in a way that will better teach them the consequences of violence while still allowing violent students an opportunity to reform their behavior and clear their records after ten years. By holding violent students more responsible for their behavior, schools can do a better job of protecting students and decreasing the occurrence of violence in society.