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Guilty Bystanders

The U.S. Department of Education should make it mandatory that students participate in at least one extracurricular activity in public schools. Torpidity can be the assassin of society in the United States. If people make an immediate effort to reform, traumatizing events like school shootings can be prevented, but being proactive and making sacrifices to better society is not in a lot of citizens’ natures. Their idleness creates a false sense of security that blinds them from seeing the impending terrors. Idleness can be stopped if people grew up feeling the need to be involved. High school is an ideal place to start because students begin to learn what their role in society should be. Students that participate in clubs or play on a sports team are more inclined to help others because they experience more socialization and are more likely to succeed and attend class (Fujita, K.). Standardized test scores and graduation rates would most likely improve, and the future leaders of the United States will have more experience in different societal circumstances.

Some parents believe that when students get involved in extracurricular activities they will be overloaded and it becomes harder for students to achieve good grades. Practice for sports goes on for hours and game days drag on past a student’s bedtime, which means students have difficulty completing homework or studying. With all of the possible distractions that come with extracurricular activities, parents think that a student’s chance of academic success is limited, but what parents do not realize is that they are limiting a student’s chance of becoming more versatile. Sports teams often make a requirement to have a high enough GPA to be on the team, so when a student commits to the team, they also commit to those requirements. This helps encourage them to complete school work, and all of the teammates hold each other accountable to get work done because none of them want to see someone removed from the team because of grades. Teammates have the same goals, and they spend a lot of time together to build strong bonds and achieve those goals. In Japanese schools, where students have higher test scores (“Educational Score Performance”), students must work together to clean the school after each school day. A sense of unity is created and students push each other to study so they can do well on tests. If that same sense of unity was in the United States, students would work harder so they can get through high school with academic excellence together.

If committing to an extracurricular activity became mandatory, some people would be frustrated with the idea of not having a choice. Some students would rather not do anything and believe they are entitled to do so. They do not know their inactivity breeds idleness that may control their daily lives later in life. Forcing participation would encourage students to make choices in the first place and to be active in their community. In clubs, students want their ideas heard and would listen more to the thoughts of others. Being involved and making decisions are good qualities of being a leader. President Barack Obama played basketball in high school and it is evident that his concern with involvement has helped him become president. Well-rounded people have a wider view of areas they can have a positive impact on.

Participating in different activities also opens up more dangers to students. They are more likely to partake in the consumption of alcohol or have more sexual intercourse than students who do not play sports (Grossbard, Hendershot, Larimer, Lee, Neighbors 556). Students may feel they need to reward themselves for all the hard work they do, so they succumb to the pressure of others to escape the busy life and be wild. But, those who are exposed to the party lifestyle have the choice to overcome adversity and make decisions without the influence of others having a huge impact, so they can make the right choice and not the one that the majority agrees with. Students can reflect the qualities of abolitionists, who knew that to stand up for what was right would also mean to fight a battle where they were outnumbered. When someone is battling against oppression is when their greatest strengths can be displayed. The power of perseverance reaches a fever pitch when one is opposed by many more.

Not only would having a more eager, participating society decrease the amount of bystanders, it would also reduce the need to stop some issues in the first place. Students who commit to clubs or sports have an opportunity to relieve the imminent stress that high school bestows on them. They can turn away from the current circumstance at school and let their feelings out on a field or court, rather than let them out on a student’s face or a teacher’s desk. Since they have a place where they can clear their minds, they would eventually go into society less likely to commit crimes or acts of violence to feel more satisfied. When crime rates begin to decline, a safer society is created, and people would be more open to doing things like voicing an opinion without the fear of getting shot or parking a nice car in their desired space without worrying about it getting keyed. Then, when more people become more active, others would take notice and believe it is right to do more things themselves. The activist nature in people creates a positive feedback effect so that more ideas are taken in to help make a nation where issues are attacked quickly and resolved peacefully.

Involvement in clubs can help students have a sense of direction because they would be doing something that they want to do or that would help them in the future. They would have a better idea on what career they want to be involved with and the road to becoming what they want would be much easier to follow. They would know what college to go to, the prerequisites they need to take, and necessary information to be more successful in their career. The strong commitment they would have to their goal would guide them to performing their job at a high level. They would have the potential to become excellent leaders in their profession, and they would be granted the ability to reform how work is done in order to benefit society. When well-rounded professionals take control over a gamut of career fields, the people of the nation will follow the many ideal role models set before them, and future generations would be even more active.

Grim futures await those who choose to be distant from the issues of society. They do not look at the nation with the future of their children and grandchildren in their minds. Those who wait and watch might believe that it is the people who stir up controversy are the ones causing problems. Waiting and watching is not commonly associated with being destructive, because when people feel comfortable on the couch of their home, to them, the children dying of starvation in Africa and being raped in the United States cease to exist. Passive people do not realize that torpidity was the core reason why Adolf Hitler’s followers chose to send Jewish people into poisonous gas showers. Passive people do not realize that torpidity is why it took so much effort just for people to see black people and white people as equals. They let the fear of being hurt for believing in what most people do not have authority over their decisions. Passive people do not realize that torpidity is why they are able to sleep soundly at night while soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are in an everlasting fear of being bombed in their sleep.

The consequences of an idle nation can literally be atomic. Enforcing an extracurricular activity in high school is one small movement to keep nations from simply allowing hateful arguments persist. Nations cannot let the ignorance of citizens once again be the root of high-scale destruction. But, just like how torpidity is the root of many wrongdoings, the experiences in the school environment of people are the seeds of people’s idleness to begin with.

Works Cited
“Educational Score Performance - Country Rankings.”Educational score performance. ITA, 2010. Web. 7 Aug 2012. <>.
Fujita, K. "The effects of extra-curricular activities on the academic performance of junior high." Undergraduate Research Journal, 2006. Web. 7 Aug 2012. <>.
Grossbard, Joel R., Christian S. Hendershot, Mary E. Larimer, Christine M. Lee, and Clayton Neighbors. "Alcohol and risky sex in athletes and nonathletes: what roles do sex motives play?" Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 68.4 (July 2007): 556. Web. 8 Aug. 2012.

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