For Students Commuting Home: Self-Defense Tools Are Not Weapons


Sasha A. Murray, Editor

 Going into this new year, there are many new rules and regulations. One of the most prominent additions is the “no weapons on campus” rule. Though this may seem like an obvious conclusion, mace and other self defense tools are also considered weapons according to school policy.  With a large chunk of students walking home after school, they need a way to keep themselves protected. 

      According to John Pierzchala, Assistant Principal for disciplinary action and attendance,¨the school is liable for you until you reach your home¨, rather than when you leave school property. Though this quote is presumed to be in relation to students misbehaving at the local Starbucks, it is not something to be taken lightly. The school cannot guarantee students safety once they leave campus, nor do they have any way of ensuring a safe passage on their way home, posing the issue with a ¨no weapons¨ rule. 

       This is not to say that students should be allowed to carry firearms, knives, or any other deadly items, but self defense tools should be allowed. Especially with women, an incident can happen anywhere, which includes school campuses. Having an immediate way for women to protect themselves is essential to daily life. The U.S. Department of Justice did a study on women’s safety that discovered ¨approximately 1 million women reported to have been stalked within their lifetime, and 1.9 million women reported physical assault.¨ Though the chances of an in-school altercation is unlikely, permitting mace or other self defense tools, if nothing else, will maintain peace of mind during a student’s most vulnerable periods, like walking home.  Jesuit High School senior, Grace Taylor states that carrying pepper spray ¨ makes her feel safe¨ and that it is the only thing she carries with her all the time…It provides her with at least a little ease of mind knowing that she could defend herself against someone¨, if need be. Ultimately, it is simply another way to make students feel safe, wherever they may be. 

       Contrary to what has been said, within the student handbook there is no mention of this ¨no weapons¨ rule. As a matter of fact, in the personal property section it states that the school assumes ¨no responsibility for any personal property which is brought to school¨. If this is true, then bringing self-defense tools should not be an issue, but that poses the question of why a no-weapons policy was brought up verbally at the beginning of the year.? The student handbook is meant to list and explain the most crucial rules for students to follow, yet students’ safety is not mentioned. However, there is about half a page dedicated to the dress code no-gos; where it states that articles of clothing that ¨interfere¨ with the learning process are not allowed. Now this is an interesting statement from many reasons, but in relation to student safety, there is a pretty extensive sum up on the don’ts of the dress code, yet they do not have a section on safety. This may be due to how obvious the rule may seem, but it is a very important point. To not have any mention of this in the student handbook seems like an oversight. 

To sum up, self-defense tools are essential to students’ feeling of safety, and our school should abide by that as well.