The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

Mental health awareness should be prioritized in all schools
Mental health awareness should be prioritized in all schools
Sally Martinez, J1 Reporter • April 22, 2024

Mental health takes a toll on students all over the world. It disrupts how they learn and retain that information. So, why is it not a big deal when schools see an increase in lower grades and moody students?...

Dull to colorful with new murals
Ryan Zuniga, Dispatch Reporter • April 19, 2024

Along the heavily populated hallway is the second mural within the fine arts wing. Over spring break a local graffiti group, Color Cartel, led and established by artist Andrew Horner, created the...

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Traffic and Student Safety

Teens need to be held accountable for driving unsafely at Bowie
In this episode of the Dispatch podcast, host Zach Tishgart dives into the minds of two high school seniors and their thoughts on the traffic and parking situations at Bowie, as well as brings an administrator to give their thoughts and advice.

Many high school students dream of the day when, newly acquired driver’s license in hand, they can finally drive themselves to school. This rite of passage can give a newfound sense of freedom and independence to adolescents. However, the risks and responsibility that come with this important milestone cannot be overlooked.

On December 11, 2023, a Bowie student was hit by a car near the gate of the parking garage on campus. While the details of this accident are not public, this unfortunate incident should not have occurred on a school campus.

Regardless of the specificities of this particular accident, it is necessary to address the culture of unsafe driving that is so prevalent on campus. Ultimately, there needs to be more accountability for students who chose to drive unsafely at Bowie High School.

The recklessness exhibited by teen drivers on campus can be witnessed on a daily basis. One example of this includes driving well over the five miles per hour speed limit which is in place to keep pedestrians safe in and around the parking garage.

Furthermore, loud engines revving, and screeching tires from inside the garage can be heard frequently. Drifting is another popular maneuver among adolescents striving to impress their friends.

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2020, car crashes were the leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States. This study also reported that teen drivers between the ages 16-19   were almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash per mile driven than those 20 years or older.

Given these statistics, it is clear that some adolescent drivers lack the sense of maturity or responsibility necessary to operate a vehicle.

However, there are strategies that could be employed to promote safer driving practices among teens. A crucial consideration surrounding this topic is that, according to the CDC, a significant amount of teen motor vehicle accidents are completely preventable.

Because of this, accountability for teens who chose to drive recklessly on school grounds is necessary. This would create a safer environment as students navigate such a large high school. Additionally, a sense of awareness would be instilled in teen drivers that could benefit them both on and off campus.

There is currently little enforcement of the regulations in place to keep drivers and pedestrians safe at Bowie. Other than occasional announcements over the intercom reminding students to be cautious while driving at school, there are no systems in place to hold irresponsible drivers accountable.

In order to encourage students to drive more safely on campus, there needs to be consequences for those who chose to ignore rules that have been established for a reason.

One solution that would promote more responsible driving practices on campus would be for administrators to consistently monitor parking areas with heavy flows of traffic in the morning and afternoon.

Furthermore, there should be a system in place that calls for drivers to receive a citation for unsafe actions such as exceeding speed limits or performing maneuvers that put other students in danger. An individual who receives three citations should be required to complete a Blend course that refreshes their memory on safe driving etiquette.

While some may believe that these precautions are unnecessary, many students voice frustration about the lack of maturity their peers display while driving on campus. Even though accidents like the one mentioned previously are not frequent, students should not have to go to school worrying about how the negligence of other drivers may impact them.

Enforcing these precautions would only help to encourage students to be more mindful when driving, and create a more secure environment on campus.

Although driving can unlock a new level of independence and confidence among teens, adults are still responsible to guide and enforce practices that lead to the success of young drivers. This can be achieved on campus by implementing systems that promote responsibility and accountability among student-drivers, leading to a more positive experience for all those involved.

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