Mace can no longer protect us


Björn Hansson/Wikimedia Commons

Over 20 percent of women in America carry pepper with them as a self-defense weapon.

Anna Engels, Staff Writer

Recently, over morning announcements, LHS re-enforced the SFSD rule that mace is not allowed on the premises of the school. Many girls have mace hooked on their key chains for protection when entering their car or walking at night. Although it is mostly used for protection against attackers, when used incorrectly, mace can cause serious and possibly irreversible damage. 

Being a young girl in any place and time alone increases the chance of getting harmed or attacked by another individual, but according to Reason, 60 years ago Alan Lee Litman found a way to reduce those odds. By inventing mace, or as it is most commonly used by pop culture, pepper spray, Litman has given young women the chance to defend themselves in threatening situations. Since then, women around the country have purchased this defense mechanism as our nation continues to become more high-risk and unpredictable as the years go on. According to RAINN, the largest sexual assault hotline, “on average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.” This number could be substantially greater if women did not have the option to carry protection against them. 

As a young girl that had pepper spray attached to my keys, I was fearful when I was told that pepper spray was being denied in and around our school. Since a young age, I have always been extremely cautious with making sure I do not put myself in vulnerable positions alone, and pepper spray was the one constant that I could have with me in case of an emergency. Because I drive to school every day, my keys are with me from 8 a.m. to as late as 10 p.m. on some school nights. Where am I supposed to keep my one tool of self-defense if I cannot have it with me at school? Being active in school volleyball and having to walk clear to Arcadia alone after late games, if I were to ever be in a menacing circumstance, my pepper spray will do me no good sitting inside my car’s glove box. 

As for pepper spray being used in school, it very unacceptable when used in the wrong situation. As stated by KQED, pepper spray “induces a burning sensation in the eyes in part by damaging cells in the outer layer of the cornea. Usually, the body repairs this kind of injury fairly neatly. But with repeated exposures, studies find, there can be permanent damage to the cornea.” With this being said, pepper spray is a self-defense tool strictly for people put in a high-stress environment, not for a mutual fight between enemies or some punches thrown over a boy. If mace is used inappropriately in a school setting, the person at fault of the misused mace should be disciplined for their actions. 

Even though mace is considered a weapon at LHS, what is keeping people from using other articles as weapons as well? Objects such as Chromebooks, car keys or even lab chemicals could all be turned into weapons if an individual intends to cause harm. If taking away mace is a necessity to keep LHS a safe place, dozens of more items should fall under that category as well. Pencils have a sharp point; will they get banned too? Mace is a device designed to help those being harmed, not to cause unneeded harm. Because this solution may not get fixed in the upcoming years, there are still some ways girls could continue to stay safe without mace. These include walking with a friend, “talking” on the phone or having an increased amount of lights in the school parking lot. We live in an unsure world, and steps need to be taken in order to protect young girls and women.