Junior English Classes Present and Discuss Community Issues

AP 3 English class students met in the library to inform and discuss controversial matters in society last Friday. Students discussed issues such as gang violence and drug problems that affect high school students. Such issues are not easily discussed at school or are easily dismissed by students. Having an open stage devoted to just talking about these issues helps raise awareness.

One of the important problems discussed was combating gang violence. Students educating the audience on the topic spoke about how people get involved in gangs and specific details about how gang activity is spread out.

“Most people are often drawn into gangs because of the environment they grew up in. Often times they may have family members already in a gang or friends. Sometimes the person can also be very lonely and has nothing better to do so they will join a gang to gain a support system or to try to make quick money,” Junior Anthony Parilli said. “The most dangerous neighborhoods tend to be near the center while safer neighborhoods surround them- Aurora follows this example.”

The students also discussed possible solutions for the problems. The solutions were simple and something any student could do or could have access to.

“There are many steps to help stop the gang violence that takes place. As a community, we can build a new recreational center, set up events for the youth, and spread awareness about gangs and how to stay out of them,” Junior Grace Luporini said.

Another matter that was brought to attention was the use of illicit drugs. Students shared statistics comparing how Illinois used these drugs compared to the entire nation. Students also discussed policies that have been undertaken to help control the problem.

“As of right now, 8.55 percent of Illinois residents have reported using illicit drugs and the national average is around 8.82 percent. Ninety-five people, of which eight were from Naperville, died from heroin and other opioid overdoses in Dupage County in 2017,” Junior Zach Zimmerman said. “To prevent students from participating in these activities schools such as West Aurora High School have set policies such as where if a student is identified drinking or using drugs they can have up to a maximum of a sixty-day suspension.”

The students later suggested viable options for help or rehabilitation. All of the ways to get aid are accessible to any student who needs it.

“For any student who needs to help with drug addiction, there are free clubs and student-athlete policies to aid student responsibility and accountability. Aurora has many treatment facilities and even more are opening up. If you know a friend who needs help, I would give them the phone number to such a facility,” Zimmerman said.