School Violence

School violence is an ever-growing problem plaguing the safety of adolescent children at the junior high and high school level. School violence can result from simple bullying and has the potential to escalate quickly to school shootings. School violence has the potential to cause injuries and loss of life. The tragedy at Columbine High School illustrates the urgency to involve parents, teachers, school officials, community leaders and clergy in a fight to educate children so future tragedies can be avoided. School safety should be a priority for all school districts around the nation to help deter future tragedies from occurring.

Factors that precipitate school violence:

  1. Maintaining a high status
  2. Defiance of authority
  3. Need for power
  4. Status and need for social identity
  5. Social control

The types of violent behavior that is common among adolescents:

  1. Childhood aggression – When rough and tumble play persists into a pursuit for domination, it becomes bullying. Bullying is a destructive behavior which can manifest into antisocial behavior and aggressive behavior.
  2. Gang Violence – Gang lifestyles value exaggerated displays of masculinity and risk taking. Violence is a byproduct of the collective identity of the gang and its members.
  3. Guns – A safe learning environment can be irrevocably shattered with incidents of school violence that can quickly turn deadly if guns enter into the equation. The number one source where children acquire guns are from their parents. Kids bring guns to school to show power or to protect themselves from bullies.

There are several ways school districts have tried to remedy the ever present threat of school violence. Enacting disciplinary codes and zero tolerance policies can have a dramatic effect for the safety of your child. Many school districts have also enacted policies that implement various forms of security measures. One of the most popular methods for school districts to decrease the level of school violence on campuses is to equip each school with metal detectors. This policy has had some success, but the cost and inconvenience it causes has made it an unpopular way to solve school violence issues. Staggered start times for your children is necessary where metal detectors have been implemented. This is mainly due to the long lines necessary to check each student for weapons before they enter the school. The most logical way to solve school violence issues within schools is to partner up with community leaders. Numerous school districts have partnered up with law enforcement, gang violence counselors and the clergy to provide non-violent avenues for resolving problems. After school prevention programs and mentoring programs have allowed troubled kids to find other avenues than violence.

What teachers can do to stop school violence:

  • You can report any suspicious activities such as gang activity or bullying to administrators.
  • Have open lines of communication with parents to notify them of their child’s actions before they escalate out of control.
  • Learn the warning signs a child exhibits and how to use school resources to get the child help.
  • Incorporate discussions involving school violence and ways to minimize the devastating effects into your curriculum.
  • Let your class participate in a program to develop a “Stop the Violence Plan” for the school.
  • Proactively enforce polices regarding bullying and name calling. Take appropriate disciplinary actions if necessary.

What can parents do to stop school violence:

  • Always keep your guns and hunting knives locked away where your child does not have access. Always store your ammunition in a separate location.
  • You should regularly volunteer at your school – participate in your child’s life.
  • Try to manage anger at home – a positive role model can help.
  • Teach your kids effective strategies to solve difficult situations and problems that may arise at school.
  • Discourage name calling and teasing
  • Openly communicate with your child on a daily basis.