Violence is a significant problem in schools today. Whether it deals with guns,knives, or just a little fight, school violence is more common than ever before. Schools have always been one of the safest places in a childs life, but are wesure that this is true anymore?
The threat of attacks in schools create fear and disorder instudents and teachers. Every year, three million students in the United States fall victimto crimes at school and almost two million of these incidents involve violence. In a studyconducted in 1995, thirty-four percent of middle school students and twenty percent ofhigh school students admitted that they feared becoming victims of school violence. Seven percent of eighth graders have stayed home from school to avoid a bully. Eightpercent of teachers say that they are threatened with violence at school on an average ofonce a month and two percent report being physically attacked each year (CRFWebLesson).
Middle school students are more than twice as likely as high school students tobe affected by school violence due to two reasons. First, middle school students are in anearly adolescent state and are often physically hyperactive and havent learned acceptablesocial behavior. Second, middle school is the first time students come into contact withyoung people from different backgrounds and distant neighborhoods, which are verydifferent to them( CRF WebLesson).
Many schools are seeing a need to stop the violence and are starting to enactdiscipline codes, conflict mediation, school uniforms, and increased security measures. The most used discipline code has probably been a zero-tolerance policy such asthe Gun-Free Schools Act. This was enacted in some form in all fifty states to create gun-free schools by suspending or expelling anybody with a gun at school. Some schools havegone further by enacting the same force with all weapons, drugs, and violence.
Zero-tolerance policies also have big problems associated with them. When kids get expelledand theyre not in school any longer, they are on the streets getting in more trouble thanthey ever could at school. The major problem is inconsistent application andmisinterpretation of the policies, when the policies are suddenly announced leaving noroom for administrators judgment or students due-process rights(Guidance Channel).
Many schools have developed programs to build self-esteem and social skills toimprove communication between students. In some schools, teachers and students arerequired to get to know each other in group discussion sessions. Educators believe that itis important to break down the cold, impersonal atmosphere of large schools by creatingsmaller communities of learning. More teachers and smaller class sizes will minimizeschool violence associated with classroom overcrowding. They also believe its helpful tooffer specialized vocational training and instruction in career development to preparestudents for life in important ways that they can recognize(CRF WebLesson).
Another popular policy is school uniforms. A study by the U.S. Department ofEducation suggests that school uniforms can help reduce theft, violence, and the negativeeffects of peer pressure caused when some students come to school wearing designerclothing and expensive shoes. It prevents gang members from wearing gang colors andsigns that could cause trouble and helps school faculty in recognizing people who dontbelong on school campus. Its too new to tell if school uniforms will have a long-termimpact on violence. Parents, students, and teachers tend to find uniforms demeaning andturn schools into prisons.
Many schools are also turning to security measures such as metal detectors,surveillance cameras, X-ray machines, high fences, uniformed security guards, andincreased locker searches. These measures prevent violence but they also havecomplications. They are very expensive and it takes a long time to scan every student inthe school. Determined students just think of new ways to get weapons into the school,therefore, they dont prevent all violent acts.
The main problem with school violence is that no one really watches for it yetand a violent crime is usually committed by the one that no one ever suspects. The littlethings like teasing and name-calling that no one thinks will do any harm are what causeshatred towards another person. These little things lead up to big things like shooting andthey need to be stopped in order to end the violence in our schools.