The new year is rolling in with a bang in the Twin Cities’ education realm as fights broke out two nights in a row this week during basketball games at different Minneapolis schools.
News reports indicate that 100 people were involved the first night in the game between Minneapolis North and Patrick Henry High School, while the second night’s brawl at Sullivan STEAM, a K-8 Magnet school, doubled in size.
While such an event is eye-raising, most of us will likely shrug and chalk up the incidents to the fact that they happened in city schools. “My kids go to school in the suburbs,” you might say. “Fights and violence don’t happen there.”
Unfortunately, news reports indicate the opposite.
In October, Alpha News reported on a fight which broke out at White Bear Lake North High School. Video shows students whaling on one another. One parent noted that “this behavior is nothing new at North and it continues because administration doesn’t give the students appropriate consequences.”
The same Alpha News article indicated that fights had also broken out at high schools in Hastings and St. Cloud that month.
In November, a fight featuring a knife broke out in a Rochester high school. “Although I wish it wasn’t the case, fights are something that my kids have been witnessing for years, so this isn’t a new thing,” Jessica Williams reported in an article for KROC.
Fights hit Mankato East High School in December, with one student even getting arrested for assaulting a police officer, who presumably stepped in to break up the fight.
Clearly, the big city schools aren’t the only place where fights are erupting; they’re spreading to Outstate Minnesota as well.
Such reports should alarm all Minnesota parents. Unfortunately, current education options are limited. As one mother told Alpha News after the October incident at White Bear Lake North High School, “Some are looking into other options but being that is so popular now, it’s harder and harder to find openings at private and charter schools.”
Did you catch that? Alternative school options are extremely popular right now. Parents want more options—safer, smaller schools to which they can send their children—but so many are limited to their local district school.
Passing Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in the state would start to solve this problem. Offering $7,000 per student for families to take to the school of their choice, ESAs would inspire innovative teachers to open microschools, encourage churches and other organizations to open private schools, and also give families who want to homeschool the means for a parent to drop a job and stay home to personally educate their children. All these options would create smaller schools which would go far in alleviating fights and violence.
Is your school safe? The increasing reports about fights breaking out at schools around the state seem to suggest otherwise. It’s high time we think outside the box and consider whether school choice policies like ESAs could help deescalate these dangerous situations.
Image Credit: WCCO News Screenshot