I am a senior currently attending Julia R. Masterman high school. Recently, I have begun to look into who represents me on a political level. This has lead me to discover Jason Dawkins, the State Representative for the 179th Legislative District of Philadelphia.
As a State Representative, Dawkins has the power to pass and vote on different pieces of legislation which directly impact my community. While researching Dawkins, I have found that we share similar views on multiple different societal issues; for example, raising the minimum wage, limiting the availability of firearms, and increasing funding for certain Philadelphia public schools.
As a senior in high school currently applying for college, I wholeheartedly agree with Dawkins’ stance on these subjects, as I believe both of these ideas would be beneficial to me as I move into adulthood. Despite this, there are still areas within politics where I find myself disagreeing with some of Dawkins’ political decisions.
Over the past few years, there has been a rapid rise in gun violence within schools across the nation. This has lead to an increase in pressure towards public school administrations as they try to implement new systems in order to ensure the safety of their students during the school day. The frequency of these events has lead the public to become more vocal towards this subject, leading many to propose solutions on ways to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring. One idea which has recently rose to popularity is the idea of improving the overall quality of school security by requiring certain training credentials as well as arming school security guards.
Since his election, Dawkins has been a strong advocate against gun violence within Philadelphia. However, while researching Dawkins, it came to my attention that in regards to Senate Bill 621, which is a bill that would allow the arming of security guards and require school security to present certain credentials annually to hold their position, he was one of the many Democrats who voted against its passage.
Knowing Dawkins’ political track history, I find this act contradictory as I fail to see why he would argue against this bill. Dawkins, being a very vocal figure in the fight against gun violence, has made many actions in the past to improve security within schools. On October 24, 2018, he announced a school safety grant for Mastery Charter school, which would go towards security related equipment, such as metal detectors, identification systems, surveillance equipment, etc..
Within this same announcement, he stated that “children and parents should never have to fear whether or not they will return from school”, and that these grants will “help provide a safe and healthy environment for our children to learn, and teachers to teach”. I believe that the passing of Senate Bill 621 would have helped immensely in the achievement of the goals Dawkins set out in this announcement, which leads me to wonder what reasoning Dawkins has for his vote on this bill.
While I may disagree with Dawkins on this specific subject, I am very grateful for what he has done within my community. I will continue to follow and support Dawkins’ political movements as I believe he is truly working to improve our city.