Skip To Content

    11 Photos From Inside US Schools That Show We're Living In A Dystopian Fever Dream

    A harrowing reminder.

    In the US, the education system is...rocky at best. Debates about banning books and erasing parts of history are rampant; safety is a constant growing concern; and teacher's salaries are abysmal at best.

    Any experience I hear about from inside the halls of a high school sound like a YA dystopian novel. Here's what it's like from the perspective of students and teachers:

    1. In this school, students shared videos of police officers keeping a watchful eye over their lunch hour while sitting in lifeguard towers. Not only is this vantage point giving harsh Big Brother energy, but it also feels unnecessary. A security guard is certainly enough to "break up fights," as the student who shared this image implied is the officer's purpose.

    police sitting on a lifeguard chair watching over students

    2. This district considered how they would best prepare young students for the potential of a school shooting. Their solution? A catchy nursery rhyme that reminds kids to "go behind the desk and hide" while they "wait until it's safe inside."

    This nation is a dystopia. Texas #school nursery rhyme in case of a Mass shooting

    Twitter: @NGoodChuck

    3. In September 2021, four schools in Rigby, Idaho's Jefferson School District 251 banned backpacks from their halls after a 13-year-old student was found with a gun in hers. So students started carrying their textbooks, notebooks, and general necessities in wagons, shopping carts, fishtanks, popcorn machines, and more.

    4. Remember when you read Fahrenheit 451 in school and your teacher asked what the world would be like if we weren't allowed access to books? Well. After new strict rulings fell in Florida that severely limited what true information could be shared with students through readings, teachers began covering their book displays or removing books from them entirely out of fear of retaliation from the district or law.

    Since y'all wanna play the "this isn't really happening" game

    Twitter: @JagsFanBrian

    5. In Florida, the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) made an unprecedented move by recommending student athletes report details about their menstrual cycle to administrators. Before then, the students would complete a physical exam with a doctor and the doctor would sign a form that allowed them to play. Now, the FHSAA wants documents from physicals given directly to them, which has led some parents to question what they plan to do with this information and why they suddenly need it now, The New Republic reports.

    Florida wants to require all female high school athletes to turn over their menstrual data, which can be viewed by administrators. This is downright dystopian. A final decision to enact this will be made at a FHSAA meeting later this month.

    Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images / Via Twitter: @Esqueer_

    6. First-grade teacher Kelsey Vidal went viral when sharing her custom-made "active shooter backpack," which is fully equipped with emergency supplies like tourniquets to stop major bleeding, pressure bandages, scissors to cut through jeans or shirts if need be, bulletproof plates and vests, and more medical supplies.

    7. As firearms have become the leading cause of death for children in the United States, more and more schools have started adopting the use of metal detectors. Out of concerns for safety and possibly fear, schools around the country have added other security measures to their regular day-to-day. Between 2019 and 2020, 14.8% of public high schools used metal detectors, 84.4% maintained ever-present security staff, and 7% mandated the use of clear backpacks.

    metal detecters

    8. Elsewhere, one school tried to dissuade students from using the bathroom while transitioning between classes by installing metal gates over the door frames. I'm not sure what the goal is here? Besides encouraging students to use class time to pee instead.

    metal gate covering the entrance

    9. Board members at La Vernia ISD high school in Texas voted to arm their staff through a "guardian program." To become a "guardian," staff must complete 20 hours at a firing range, 20 hours of classroom training, have a license to carry, and pass annual psychological exams, KSAT reports. And though the board claims most local residents are in favor of the program, some are concerned about the safety of their students because accidents — the saying goes — always happen.

    sign outside the school saying teachers are legally armed and trained

    10. On the other side, showing a need to protect students, one assistant professor became a whistleblower when they warned students about the university's economics department. Apparently, students taking these courses were required to use a program similar to Blackboard where they were charged a fee to upload/turn in their assignments. The teacher called out these predatory actions and suggested students email complaints to the dean and inform others.

    the email letting students know about the pay wall

    11. And finally, this school wanted to make sure teachers made students weigh "all sides" of any and all arguments. Even if they can't find a reason why solar energy would put our society at a disadvantage.

    prompt asking students to list the pros of using coal and the cons to using solar power