School Violence: A Disturbing Epidemic
We send our children to school with the expectation of them being in a safe environment. We take comfort in knowing that our children are in school soaking up knowledge and being in an environment that encourages learning and creativity. The reality is that many of our children are faced with a growing epidemic of violence in their schools. There are many ways in which our children face violence in school. Some examples are bullying, school shootings, fights, gangs, cyber bullying and sexual assaults. What is causing our children to exhibit such violent behavior? Why isn’t more being done to protect our children from such violence? Do parents really realize the dangers their children face every day when they attend school? In order to be able to correct a problem, you have to know the extent of the problem. You have to evaluate the root causes of these problems and then attempt to find solutions for these problems.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, among students ages 5–18, there were 38 school-associated violent deaths from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009. Among students ages 12–18, there were about 1.2 million victims of nonfatal crimes at school, including 619,000 thefts and 629,800 violent crimes (simple assault and serious violent crime), 8 percent of students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon, such as a gun, knife, or club, on school property. These statistics gives you an indication of the seriousness of the level of violence our children deal with on a regular basis. These statistics do not include the violence inflicted upon our teachers and administrators.
We continue to witness incidents of school violence. The hope is that this latest school shooting will make authorities and parents wake up and realize that significant measures need to be taken to protect our children from this violence.
So what could be some of the root causes for the reason our children have become so violent? Some of the reasons to consider as to why our children have become so violent, and things that can be done to improve school safety are:
1. The violence depicted in the video games and movies that our children play and watch. This could be having a negative effect on some children that have emotional issues to begin with. There is nothing wrong with children playing these games and watching these movies, but they should be playing age appropriate games and parents need to be carefully monitoring what their children are playing and watching. We allow our children to become numb to violence by subjecting them to it so frequently. They need to know that games and movies are not real, but death in real life is forever.
2. Lack of parental supervision is becoming alarmingly common. Parents are so consumed with trying to provide food and shelter for their families that they are neglecting the very individuals they are working so hard for. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children from harm, which means being aware of the people you allow your children to associate with. You as the parent have every right to search your child’s room, backpacks, cellphones and anything else they bring into your home. It is your home and children should be made to realize that they are expected to respect your home at all times. As a parent you should always know what is going on with your child. Having regular conversations with your child regarding the goings on at school is an important part of ensuring your child’s safety at school.
3. Parents not participating in their children’s education. Parents should become a part of their child’s education by joining the PTO and having frequent contact with their child’s teachers and administrators. This is important because it allows you to get the view of your child in the school environment. Sometimes children act totally different in school than they do at home. If a problem does exist with your child, you will be able to quickly address the problem and get your child the care and/or services your child needs.
4. Schools and parents are not taking the necessary basic measures to identify students who are at risk for violent behavior. This is where the communication between home and school would be beneficial. If the school and parents have good communication, the school would be more aware of problems in the home. Schools would then be able to closely observe those students to attempt to prevent a violent situation. Educators could also put better safety measures in place such as metal detectors and all schools should have a police officer assigned. It seems that this is very drastic, but the reality is, this is the world we now live in and we need to do whatever is necessary to protector our children from violence in school. It may not seem so drastic if you are the one burying your child after one of these senseless school shootings.
School violence in our society today is an issue that affects us all. We all want our children to go to school and feel safe and secure to allow for a positive learning environment. They should not be fearful to go to school. Parents and educators should work together to find solutions to this problem. Serious conversations need to take place to share ideas of how to make our schools a safer place for the students and the teachers.
National Center for Education Statistics