October in Westminster by Marinda Yuhanna: Year 11 pupil at St Peter’s RC High School
As a teenage student walking to and from school every morning and afternoon, my levels of awareness rise significantly. Behind this sentiment, is the reality of what the world outside of school has come to. Violence, aggression and cruelty, escalating from verbal to physical abuse, are a few of the many reasons we fear for our safety.
Many teenage voices like mine, wish to have the ability to speak openly, but are afraid of being frowned upon, almost as if we are being perceived as oblivious to the unpleasant and distressing events occurring around the world and locally. However, what remains unacknowledged, is that we are the main victims of tragedies, such as knife crime and gun crime, whether we are on the street corners or in takeaways. Avoiding isolated paths and alleyways just doesn’t seem to be helpful enough, as shocking statistics have shown that incidents of stabbing have increased across England and Wales by 22% in a year, with children as young as 13 among the victims; why not make this one of the main priorities in society?
Local areas, such as the popular City Centre in Manchester and Longsight, have become hotspots for offences, with the involvement of sharp objects; mainly knives. Not long ago, on the 31st of October 2018, children were out trick or treating for Halloween, and watched in horror, while being traumatised by a teenager being brutally stabbed on the street. An innocent 17 year old, knifed multiple times during the sickening attack on Lingmoor Walk in Hulme, has left many members of his family dwelling upon this ferocious strike. Luckily, the victim remains living, but just imagine if this was not the case, and instead, his life had been taken.
On the whole, I believe that the police and schools are taking notice of these events and are doing numerous things in order to decrease the numbers of occurrences. Recently, we were given the opportunity to participate in the Make Your Mark Campaign ensuring we feel that our opinions and perceptions really do matter. At St Peter’s, 943 students took part in this, and 199 of us voted to put an end to knife crime. This category managed to get the highest number of votes, which goes to show our levels of concern and worries but at least we know it will be discussed in parliament this month.
Shortly after collecting these shocking results, no obstacle prevented the teachers, as they almost immediately educated us on this topic in assemblies. Support devices, such as alarms have been given to each individual, male and female, as a way of protection to and from school. As well as this, the organisation Street Doctors were invited to our school, to allow us a better understanding of the dangers we might face and how to save lives as a result!
Thankfully, our safety is clearly a priority!