Linking Spirituality and Violence Prevention in School Counseling
The purpose of Allen and Coy’s article, “Linking spirituality and violence prevention in school counseling,” is to link spirituality with school violence prevention.
In her article, the author discussed spirituality and its role in a student’s life. She states directly that, “spiritual development in children and youth set the tone for student tolerance and respect for others” (Allen, n.d.).
She suggests that by providing spiritual leadership in the classrooms and school counseling offices, children can unlearn their violent behaviors and therefore the violence among them would be reduced.
A few key statistics that she offers are that “among youth aged 10-14 years, homicide and suicide are the third and fourth leading causes of death . . . among 15- to 19-year olds, they are second and third,” and also that “in an average month, public secondary schools nationwide experience 525,000 attacks, shake-downs, and robberies and 125,000 threats against teachers-more than 5,000 of whom are actually harmed” (Allen, n.d.).
She believes that violence is a learned behavior, gleaned from the values, attitudes and interpersonal skills learned from home. In order to change these behaviors, she feels like the students need to be taught religious values to counteract those learned at an earlier age to give these students an identity outside of the one they currently know and give meaning to their lives.
What interested you in this essay?
The key points made by the author include the fact that the behaviors learned by these children at home and at school are what they will exhibit in society, that spirituality intermingled with counseling methodologies and techniques are the key to reteaching students core values and characteristics, and that a program of teachers and counselors offering this instruction will provide these students with the close, respectful, long-term relationships that they need from adults to help them change.
Teaching children new behaviors from a religious viewpoint and providing them with a stable environment sounds all fine and good, but many people are trying that and failing to make significant changes.
The problem is not necessarily coming from school and cannot be solved from school. These relationships are definitely an integral part of each child seeing his or her worth and striving for better, but the children being discussed are much worse off.
A change in behaviors like the author talks about has to start at home. Children mimic the behaviors they see from their parents and trusted older figures in their lives.
This may include older brothers and sisters if parents are not around. Teachers can definitely do their part while in the lives of these children for a short period of time, but the problem will not be solved this way.
What is needed is parental instruction and training. Parents need to be informed of what is going on and why. They need to see research and trends, they need to hear the statistics and they need to be educated on how to fix it.
When the parents see the value of changing their children’s behaviors and the kids see that their parents really care, that is what will make all the difference.
Allen, J. M., Coy, D. R. (n.d.). Linking spirituality and violence prevention in school counseling. Professional School Counseling, (7)5. Retrieved May 20, 2010, from the ERIC database: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ehost/detail?vid=5&hid=12&sid=ef449656-815d-4282-9c2f-423a725c0526%40sessionmgr14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=eric&AN=EJ704652.
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness