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According to a federal government report, “violence is one of our leading health problems; it does not stop at any schools front doors,” (Kopa). school violence is also refer to, as the harmful behaviors that start at a early age and continues into young adulthood. It includes bullying, slapping, punching, weapon use, and rape.
The most common cause for the occurence of school violence are substance abuse, association with gangs, and guns. Which lead to the crime of possession of a controlled substance in violation of law, possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives, possession of an alcoholic beverage and assault on school personnel resulting in serious injury.
Gangs have also played a large role in school violence. A gang is a group of people, usually of the same ethnic group and from the same neighborhood. Even though many people think of black teenagers when they think of gangs, there are white, Asian, Hispanic, gangs. For some young people, gangs provide the only emotional support that they have.
Guns are flooding our school system. We have gone from fist fight to gunfight and the statistics are staggering. According to the USA Today, Society for the advancement of education, “more american youths have been killed by guns in the last thirteen year than were killed during the entire Vietnam War. “Every year since 1950, the number of American children killed by guns doubled every two days, the equivalent of an entire classroom of kids (twenty-five) are killed by guns. “Every three hours, someone between the ages of ten and nineteen is killed with a gun.”(Day, 1996, pg. 33)
Now a days it is common for students to call each other names, sometimes these are the students carrying a gun or even starting a fight in school. “Government educators had found over 2,000 weapons stashed by students in lockers, backpacks” (School Violence). This proves that school are not all that safe for students and staff. Most shooting are usually done by the one you least expect and usually shocked many people. It only takes one person, to destroy a school and many of its students’ lives. According to School violence report, “As more violent acts occurs, more kids are afraid to go to school”. Students often seem afraid because of all the violent acts that have occurred in schools.
Not only does crime and violence affect those involved in the criminal incidents, but it also hinders societal growth and stability. In is very important for us to understand the characteristics surrounding crime in schools and the offenders who reportedly commit these offenses so that law enforcement, policy makers, school administrators, and the public can properly combat and reduce the amount of crime occurring at our schools. When children are exposed to steady verbal and physical violence that begins early it continues throughout their lives. Also, children who behave violently are themselves victims of violence. Most of the time children who are at risk send signals, that they feel isolated from and maligned by society. They can suffer serious injury, significant social and emotional damage, or even death. They can be a victim, an offender, or a witness to the violence or a combination of these. The miss behavior and the lack of achievements in school make grades begin to drop. Violent doesn’t have to be just physical harm. “Often violent acts can be included to demean, harm, or infringe up one another civil right” (Kopka). For this reason, harm also can be verbal and mentally damage. For an example, name calling would not scare a person in a physical way, but it would hurt him or her in a mental way. According to State Superintendent June Atkinson, “It will take the entire school community’s involvement to have an impact on school crime and violence”. Schools should be the safest places for our children. Yet, for some of our students, that is not always the case. The principals and teachers need to remain vigilant and report inappropriate activities to law enforcement. Parents need to ensure that their children know the importance of respecting the law and the consequences for breaking it, and the community need to demonstrate that any act of crime or violence will not be tolerated.
According to the USA Today, Society for the advancement of education , their are four steps to dramatically reduce school violence.
1. Assure all school-age children and teens access to after-school, weekend and summeryouth development programs to shut down the “Prime Time for Juvenile Crime.”
2. Assure all families access to the school readiness child care programs proven to
dramatically reduce crime.
3. Help schools identify troubled and disruptive children at an early age, and provide children and their parents with the counseling and training that can help kids get back on track.
4. Improve deficient parenting and prevent child abuse and neglect by: a) Offering high-risk parents in-home parenting-coaching; and b) making sure child protective, foster care and adoption services have policies and enough well-trained staff to protect and heal abused and neglected children.
Many schools are taking extra precautions to keep students safe. Some have focused on keeping weapons out by conducting random locker and bag checks, limiting entry and exit points at the school, and keeping the entryways under teacher supervision. Other schools use metal detectors. Lessons on conflict resolution have been added to many schools’ courses to help prevent troubled students from resorting to violence. Peer counseling and active peer programs help students become more aware of the signs that a fellow student may be becoming more troubled or violent. Another thing that helps make schools safer is greater awareness of problems like bullying and discrimination. Many schools now have programs to fight these problems, and teachers and administrators know more about protecting students from violence
Parents are the most important influence in the daily life of their children. It’s important for children to feel like they can share their feelings, and know that their fears and anxieties are understandable. Rather than a parent waiting for your child to approach him or her , they should consider starting the conversation by asking the child what they understand about these incidents and how they feel about them. Parents should share their own feelings too. During a tragedy, chidren may look to adults for their reactions. It helps children to know that they are not alone in their anxieties. Knowing that their parents have similar feelings will help them with their own. Children also need parents to help them feel safe, by letting them know what is being done to protect them.
What Schools Are Doing
Many school officials have responded to violence by adding extra security measures on the premises, such as metal detectors, security guards, and surveillance cameras, and by instilling harsher penalties, such as expulsion or suspension, for any aggressive act. Schools need to identify students at risk for severe academic or behavioral difficulties early on and create services and supports that address risk factors and build protective factors for them. It is important that staff be trained to recognize early warning signs and make appropriate referrals. Once students are identified, they must receive coordinated services that meet their individual needs. Schools must identify and provide intensive interventions for those children who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral problems. A number of approaches have been developed for interventions at this stage, including anger management training, structured after-school programs, mentoring, group and family counseling, changing instructional practices, and tutoring. To be effective, these approaches generally require the collaboration of schools, social services, mental health providers, and law enforcement and juvenile justice
Situations surrounding crime at school locations vary based on the offender’s motive and the intended victim. For example, incidents involving student offenders and student victims constitute the stereotypical definition of crime at schools, colleges, and universities where the offender and victim are present to participate in the activities occurring at the institution. However, there are situations involving adult and/or juvenile offenders and victims, where the school serves only as an offense location because neither the offender nor the victim is present to participate in school functions. Criminal acts due to political motivation, hate crimes, and crimes perpetrated by offenders against victims who are not instructors or students and have no other relation to the school are examples of such situations
Schools are valued institutions that help build upon the Nation’s foundations and serve as an arena where the growth and stability of future generations begin. According to Seattle Police Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske, “We’ll win the war against crime when we are ready to invest in America’s most vulnerable children without waiting for them to become America’s Most Wanted criminals.” Many school officials and citizens are convinced that the growing problems of student disruption and general lack of respect for authorities are attributable directly to an over emphasis on students’ rights. The increase in violence, drugs, and weapons in schools has directed our attention to the need to take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe learning environment for students and teachers. There are many organizations that try to help end school violence such as SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere).