School Violence is a broad category and can be explained in many different ways. No matter what, all the different types of violence mean one thing…danger and trouble. Today, it has become a big problem in society. Almost three-fourths of United States teens are afraid of violent crime amongst their peers (Lantieri 386).
School violence exists due to many causes. One cause could be drugs and gangs. Now that more and more people are selling and buying drugs, people are making money to buy weapons. Gang violence has been increasing steadily. The spread of gangs and drugs also correspond with the amount of violence concerning school youths (Glazner 14). There is also another cause that could provoke school violence, and that would be what some of us call “the outcasts”. These are people that have been bullied, pushed around, teased, and simply want revenge for something that has happened to them in the past. There is even the controversial issue of certain films, music and video games provoking school violence. For example, violence in some of our well-known comedy shows, such as Saturday Night Live and Lethal Weapon 3 could be part of these messages that get sent out to our school age youth (Glazner 802. These messages seem to say that violenceis ok. The media make violence look !
glamorous. According to a recent study, 47% of violent acts on television do not harm the victim. Eighty-six percent of violent acts have no negative repercussions: No one dies, no one goes to jail, no one’s life is ruined. And 73% of the time, the perpetrator of television violence goes unpunished (National Television Violence). Therefore, by disguising the consequences of violence, the media in many ways, can tie into the reason of why school violence exists.
As in many types of school violence, there are warning signs. These warning signs appear for all types of school violence. Whether it is rape, verbal/sexual/physical assault, battery with or without weapon, the warning signs are similar. Everyone needs to be aware, that though schools are primarily safe places, violence does occur. During any given hour on American school grounds each day, more than two thousand students and forty teachers are physically attacked, and nine hundred teachers are threatened (Horowitz A1). In 1995 alone, firearms accounted for 29 percent of the deaths of teens between the ages of fifteen and nineteen (Hart Research). Some of the warning signs of school violence are the following.
The more of these signs you observe, the greater chance the child needs help (Glazner 803).
There is one specific example of school violence that we all know and all have heard about. On Tuesday, April 20, 1999, a date many will not forget, the Columbine “Littleton” Massacre occurred. The graffiti in the bathroom read: “Columbine will explode in one day…. All jocks must die.” (Gibbs 29). It all began in the morning while all students were either at lunch or hard at work preparing for different things. Two students by the names of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, began their deadly rampage. They set off bombs and injured more than 20 people and, in total, killing 12 students and 1 teacher before killing themselves. These killers were fascinated with weapons and violence, and even modified a violent computer game into looking like a layout of Columbine High School (Leo 14). These killers’ were victims of bullying and harassed by “jocks” in school. The killers’ feelings of powerlessness and being labeled as “outcast” had strengthened their fantasies of reveng!
e, which had also shown through their interest in violent games and shows and self-isolation (Horowitz A1). Just from this incident, we can see and know what to look for in our youth. We can also see that school violence can happen anywhere, even in a small suburb where this one took place.
Finally, what could be done about it? I have a few ideas that I’ve found while doing my research that could help decrease the rate of school violence. There could be a threat management plan. While not every school may have to deal with a violent shooter, nearly every school experiences violent threats (FBI August 2001). Possible Environmental Modifications are the following. Installing metal detectors and video cameras, hiring security guards, controlling access into buildings, identifying all campus visitors, placing adults in hallways, monitoring entrances, increasing lighting (FBI August 2001). I remember when I was in middle school we used to have a conflict resolution class. I think that class should be enforced in every grade as a way to also help reduce school violence. This way, there would also develop self-esteem initiatives and mentoring programs. Hopefully, these suggestions and the many more out there, will help to make our schools a safer place.
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