If you are, your statement reads like this is a change as if people used to feel safe at school. If that was what you were saying, I have to ask if you have been living under a rock.
Schools are a lot of things, but safe hasn't been one of them for a very long time. Whether it is kids getting bullied/threatened or if it is kids getting shot/stabbed, schools have been anything but safe for a very long time.
I came from a pretty small town (pop. 30,000) and went to a small high school (1000 kids) and even in that environment school was about the most unsafe environment a child (teenager) faced. I was fortunate enough to be one of the popular kids because I played on many of the sports teams but I saw what it was like for others.
I remember three kids specifically who got picked on relentlessly in high school, two of which were my age and came through school with me. One had special needs and the other was just a very shy very overweight loaner. The third guy I didn't know very well because he was younger than I was but he was picked on as much as the other two.
From the time I was a kid my Dad taught me the harm bullying can cause. He went to school with a boy who committed suicide when he 11 years old because kids picked on him. Dad told me he always tried to befriend the kid and include him in their activities as much as he could. Even knowing he wasn't one of the people bullying him, that plagued my father for decades.
After watching these two boys who I grew up with get picked on for so many years one day I simply had enough. Me and a bunch of the other hockey players were standing in the hall (lining the corridor on each side) and skippy (the special needs kid) walked by. One of the guys flung him across the corridor into one of the other players who flung him back and they continued this right down the hall (they called it ping pong or something...i forget).
I looked at the poor kids face and saw the fear in his eyes and it was more than I could take. My desire to be liked was finally overtaken by something I knew was wrong for a very long time. I grabbed the guy who initiated the shoving and gave him a pretty good beating. It wasn't much of a sacrifice on my part as he was one of the few guys on the team I didn't really like anyway. I got suspended for a few days, but when I told my Dad what had happened he was as proud as if I had just brought home a report card with straight A's.
My opportunity to stand up for the other guy (the chubby kid) came only shortly after I had come back from suspension. This time the bully wasn't an aquaintance, so sticking up for him was even easier.
We were walking out of the school to get on the bus and there was a pretty big hill going from the school down ot hte parking lot. A guy who was notorious for picking on these types of kids (a bully in every sense of the word) grabbed Stacey (I know right....fat, a loaner and a boy with a name Stacey, the poor kid didn't have a chance) and threw him down the hill. Of course many people saw this and laughed as Stacey lay there in the mud.
I took him by the arm and helped him up and at that point people stopped laughing. When people saw it was me helping him up and remembered what recently happened to the guy who picked on Skippy the crowd quickly dispersed and I walked Stacey to the bus. When he got on I told him to meet me at the steps the next day about five minutes before dismissal.
When he met me he looked a little confused and asked what I wanted. I told him to just wait with me and he'd see. When the bell rang and everyone was leaving we waited until I saw Chris (the bully) and I grabbed him as he was walking past. I held him at the top of the hill and called Stacey over.
People started to notice that something was brewing so everyone stopped to watch. I told Stacey to give him a boot in the ass as hard as he could (to send him flying down the hill the wat Stacey had the day before). He was scared of what the reprecussions might be so I looked at Chris and told him what was going to happen if he even looked at Stacey (or anyone else) the wrong way again. That gave Stacey the nerve he needed and he unloaded on the guy.
Chris went flying down the hill and landed in the same pile of mud. I thought that was going to be it (and so did everyone else) and the kids actually started clapping for Stacey. I was feeling so good about what had just transpired that I didn't notice that Stacey went flying down the hill and was putting a thrashing on Chris. It reminded me of the Christmas Story where Ralphie was beating Scott Farkas. He was just out of his mind, paying Chris back for years of bullying. After a few minutes I pulled Stacey off and took him to his bus.
It was after that day that bullying (for the most part) in our school seemed to disappear. Once people realized that the "popular" kids weren't impressed by bullying and even more, were sticking up for the people being bullied, it curbed the problem dramatically.
Now the third kid, the one I didn't know very well and didn't have the opportunity to stand up for (Ian) he brought a knife to school and stabbed the guy that was bullying him in the bathroom....
Now this story wasn't meant to pat myself on the back by any means. I waited a long time and witnessed many kids getting bullied before I finally took a stand. My point is that schools haven't been safe places for a long long time. For some lucky ones it is....but for many, schools might as well be prisons.
Bullying is a huge problem in schools and kids need to start standing up to these bullies. Not the kids getting bullied, they are scared for the lives in many cases...it is the popular kids who have to make a stand for those other kids who don't feel they have a voice. I don't mean wearing the damned pink shirts either. I don't mean bully the bullies either, just one good beating to show them it won't be tolerated anymore.