In efforts to promote the Youngstown City School District, my speech class at East High School gathered information from the Mahoning Valley citizens to resolve violence and the lack of moral respect in our public schools. As an East High student, I must say that this district is by far the most complex, yet caring, system I have been a part of.

Teachers and staff find themselves taking on parental roles due to the lack of discipline at home. Students tend to attach themselves to the authoritative figures outside their home, due to a lack of parental support. We have nearly 1,000 students attending East High School and roughly 100 parents attended the parent-teacher conferences this year.

When I moved to Youngstown in 2005, I found students who lacked basic morals, self-respect, a need to strive for their very best and some who did not want to comply with our society. I was stunned at the value placed on education and the value of life. It seemed like many of the students did not care about the school or what others thought of them and their actions. After a while, I began to believe that the arrogance of some students was so severe that no action could change the behavior.

Vandalism seems to plague the streets and schools of Youngstown, but why? Is it because students find themselves bored and in the desperate mood for entertainment? Are some students angry and relieve their tensions on the property of others? From my knowledge, it’s a sad and humiliating environment for the citizens of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

Thus, some may wonder, why do these students deserve a levy to be passed, why do they deserve to have a multi-million dollar learning facility, and why should the community step in to inform students that it’s not OK to deal or abuse legal/illegal drugs and teen pregnancy is not OK? If you want the district to change direction, if you want the students to change their actions, then you, as our parents and guardians, need to stand up and teach us the appropriate values many of us lack desperately. We need you, these children need you, your children need you. The district cannot do it alone. You cannot expect these students to change in the community when their lifestyles aren’t changing at home.

Bottom line, don’t give up on them, don’t you dare give up on these students. They are the immediate future of Youngstown. Children are considered to be miniature figures of their parents or guardians, and if you do not find our students to be appealing, we have learned our values from you. So, if you, as parents and guardians, have not taught us right from wrong, then how do you expect us to automatically know the difference?