Violence in schools is a great concern in our society. The concern is heightened by the abundance of media coverage on a number of recent school shootings. With all of the news clips, sound bites, and Internet coverage swirling around in our heads, one might conclude that children are more violent today, than they were in recent years. But, school violence is not a new issue for the nineties; School violence has been around since the1950's, but then it was more an issue of juvenile delinquency than violent behavior. The difference between the two generations is that today student conflicts are more likely to be solved with the use of weapons. The fact is a gun is much more intimidating than a fist. There is nothing scarier than arriving at school afraid of what may happen next. Many students are faced with this problem everyday. Children should feel safe when they walk into school.
Many people use violence as an expression to release feelings of anger or frustration. They think there are no answers to their problems and turn to violence to express their out of control emotions. Others use manipulation as a way to control others or get something they want. Violence is a learned behavior. Like all learned behaviors, it can be changed. This isn't easy, though. Since there is no single cause of violence, there is no one simple solution. The best you can do is learn to recognize the warning signs of violence and to get help when you see them in your friends or yourself. Teachers tend to believe that school violence is a result of sociological factors such as: lack of parental supervision, lack of family involvement and exposure to violence in the mass media. These factors could be traced to high divorce rates, both parents working and high availability of mass media, e.g. television, Internet, ect.
Students who live in fear of violence, witness violent acts, or become victims of violence suffer an array of short-term and long-term consequences emotionally and physically. They have been found to be at greater risk for low school performance, absenteeism, truancy, school dropout and delinquency. In fact, research has shown that juveniles who are victimized, or who repeatedly witness violence, and do not receive immediate support in understanding and dealing with it are at higher risk of using violence as a means of dealing with their own conflicts; thus repeating the cycle of violence.
Schools are not doing enough to protect students and other school personnel. Curing social ills could take a long time, so I propose a high security approach to the problem. The community may find this expensive and students find it oppressive, but how many more people have to die? I propose the following strategy: Police officers in every school; Metal detectors at each doorway; Some type of dress code-banning “big clothes” where weapons can be hidden; Hall monitors- hallways, doorways, restrooms and cafeteria’s; Train certain school personnel in weapon usage. Allow them to carry and store weapons on campus. If students knew someone else on campus had a gun to protect students, they may think twice about bringing one to school. This may sound severe, but this is a direct approach to the problem. Additional discipline is needed in order to stop school violence. We need more discipline in the family, in school, and even in public. We need to educate children that their actions do have consequences. As our country's morals keep declining and the murder rate continues to rise in schools, we will still be blaming our problems on anything but ourselves.
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