The Safety Precautions One Must Take When Walking Home From School

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The Safety Precautions One Must Take When Walking Home From School

Olivia Guerrero/ Eagle's Nest

Olivia Guerrero/ Eagle's Nest

Olivia Guerrero/ Eagle's Nest

Olivia Guerrero/ Eagle's Nest

Olivia Guerrero, Editorial Editor

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Whether it be through the front or back gates of South El Monte High School, you’ll find groups or lone students walking home. While most students casually walk home with their earbuds on, I frantically search all around the backlot for adults making sure someone can hear me if I need to scream. I keep my earbuds out while walking through the tunnels so I can hear if anyone is behind me. I’ve personally never been in a situation where a stranger has tried to take me, but in a school that’s situated right next to the freeway, it appears like it would be easy enough to just take a student and slip away. Taking out my earbuds is not the only precaution I take; whenever I feel unsafe I text my friends where I am and I use all my resources to try and get a ride home. 

Sadly not all students have the fondest memories of walking home. Wendy Cornello, when asked about her experience being harassed when walking home stated, “I was walking home and this group of students was in front of me and then they went to McDonalds. I kept walking towards the crosswalk, and then they came out and started following me, and pushing me into one of the guys. So I decided to just keep walking because I was scared they’d get me. Then, one of the guys grabbed me and that’s when I started running back to school.” This harassment is unwanted and unprovoked, this can be detrimental to students’ self-worth and mental health.  Another incident that happened to Jasmine De La Rosa, “I walking to cheer practice and at the light, a car passed by me and parked. As I walked by the guy parked started hollering at me, telling me to look at him. I was scared so I started walking faster, and I’m just thinking that somethings about to happen. But I ended up just speed walking to school and made it safe.” Luckily for both students, the school was a safe space for them to escape what potentially could have been a very serious situation.

Another added factor of danger is the Chromebooks that students carry with them every day. Since the district decided to give everyone a laptop along with a case to carry it in, students have now had an added responsibility which can potentially be a challenge. “The Chromebook is expensive, so it’s seen as money for the homeless, and with that money they score drugs or food,” comments Jasmine Rocha.  Students shouldn’t have to feel frightened when carrying school-issued items to school, but most students don’t have any other choice. I see this opportunity as something great for students, but the district couldn’t predict how some individuals walk along shady and unsafe routes to get home. One way I hide my Chromebook is by keeping it in my backpack however most students I spoke with weren’t willing to conceal their laptops in their backpacks. 

According to Neighborhoodscout.com, South El Monte’s crime rate is higher than 89% of any other California city. With this small town people travel fast, so when I got notified that two men were circling the school I just simply started speed walking towards the tunnel looming over the freeway. Most people just wouldn’t take the chance, but my sister desperately needed to be picked up so I had to go to the park where she was going to meet me. The tennis coach, Mr. Bunting warned me of the dangers, and I thought others should know about this which compelled me to post on my Instagram how I “almost died.”

Moreover this incident unveiled the unconventional purpose social media holds. I know you’ve seen the long chain of stories about either a man wandering around the streets, or stories about people getting mugged. What most don’t seem to realize is how useful these warnings can be for frivolous teens who are unaware of the dangers beyond the school gates. Personally just seeing these text messages from friends makes me feel safer and wiser knowing that I have an instant news source at my hand to rely on.

Lastly, you may think that walking home is another tedious activity that students deal with. Due to all the recent stories of stalkers and strangers harassing people, the act of walking home can be considered dangerous. Make sure you are cautious and safe while passing by a dark alley or under the freeway. The couple of stories I’ve shared may seem rare however we must always remain vigilant when walking alone.