Acceptance of the unacceptable

Poll of Jones students shows a desire for change, but a lack of trust in those making it

*All data visualizations only contain information from poll respondents at Jones


Earlier this school year, The Blueprint collaborated with the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago and other school publications across the city to create a poll that would capture student’s opinions on important issues ahead of February’s mayoral election. 

The data we received, both citywide and from Jones specifically, showed a lack of faith in institutions of power and a sense of helplessness at the direction of their school and city. Analyzing the data from Jones highlighted the areas in which these sentiments were most prominent in our school community.

Amidst a mental health crisis among adolescents, many students surveyed felt concern for their emotional well-being and that of their peers. This, paired with the fact that most students only felt “somewhat” supported by Jones’ mental health resources, reflects a disparity in what students need versus what is actually offered.

This disparity is reflected in other areas as well. While most students said that they felt relatively safe at Jones physically, an awareness of the violence in their city and across the country weighed heavily.

[I feel] not really [safe in school],” said one respondent. “I go to a public school in the USA.”

Though always a feature of life at Jones, in the past couple of years security measures like metal detectors and lockdown drills have become more routine. On a cursory level, many students reported that metal detectors and school security did make them feel more safe, but also noted that the issue was more complicated.

“They make me feel safe in the event of a shooter or anyone dangerous in the school,” said a respondent. “However, the fact we need them makes me feel less safe.”

The general consensus was that though the security measures were appreciated, they didn’t get to the root of the problem.

“I feel neutral about my safety in school because security takes measures such as metal detectors and scanners to make sure everyone is accounted for and there are no weapons being brought into school,” said another respondent. “However, some things such as active shooting threats and news about school shootings still worry me, despite whatever CPS decides to implement to make us feel safer.”

Besides physical safety, students also had concerns about whether all students felt comfortable in the school community, especially after events earlier this year at Jones that led to widespread protests among the student body.

“I feel at the school level there is very little effort to repair harm done to marginalized communities,” said a respondent. “And no action plans have been communicated detailing steps moving forward.”

As a potential solution to this problem, a number of students suggested an increase in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

“We should have a basic understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong,” said one respondent. 

Others linked these initiatives directly to their feelings of comfort in school.

“I feel safe when education provides students with how to think rationally about respecting themselves and other students,” added another. Many students feel that teachers play a crucial role in maintaining a positive and respectful discourse.

“Teachers are the moderators, right?” said Tess Lacy ‘26. “We need more open acknowledgement when someone says something that makes people feel uncomfortable, and a willingness to have a discussion about it.”

These are not issues unique to Jones, with these concerns represented in the data from schools across the city. There is also a distinct element of ennui in many of these responses: students have given time and energy to improving their school and city, and the lack of tangible results makes it difficult to feel anything but powerless. Even when affirming that school feels like a relatively secure place, there is a harrowing resignation present.

“With the new security measures in place, [I feel mostly safe at school],” said a respondent. “But I don’t think anyone feels completely safe anymore.”

As Chicago heads into the mayoral election, and as Jones looks into a future with new members of administration, those in power have a responsibility to give young people the one thing that they need: to be heard.