In this essay, I am going to be presenting the topic of school violence. This is somewhat of a touchy topic, but I assure you, through reading this you may find interesting facts you may not have known about before this. First off, what is school violence? In definition, “School violence is a subset of youth violence, a broader public health problem.
” However, in this definition, it may leave you wondering, “well, what exactly is violence?” “Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, against another person, group, or community, with the behavior likely to cause physical or psychological harm.” This is defined from an online source, but maybe it would be easier to understand in my own words. Violence is normally placed under the category of ‘physical’ harm as an effect. This is not always necessarily true. As in the definition provided above, it clearly states it is to cause physical or psychological harm. So, with that being said, school violence is basically just violence taking place on school property.
It’s pretty simple to understand. Do you agree? Now that school violence is understood, we can move on to something else. The next question that needs to be answered is, “Why am I writing about school violence?” Well, the answer is quite simple, actually. School violence impacted my life greatly. Or, rather, it helped me change my life. My personal experience in this was the act of bringing a weapon to school.
Though I had no intention of harming anyone, it is still something school systems feel very strongly about. It’s about preventing accidents before they happen to keep students safe and focused on education. In other words, this is a consequence for an action that some clear thinking could have prevented. So, now we can move on. The topics I am going to address in this are as follows: statistics on school violence, types of school violence with examples following, those more at risk for school violence, what can be done in a crisis, and ways to prevent school violence.
From 2001 to 2005, there had been a significant decrease in the total percentage of school violence in both gender, and most racial or ethnic groups. However, in recent years, the school-related crime rate has more than doubled. In fact, according to CNS News, The Department of Education and The Department of Justice say that 1,183,700 violent crimes were committed on school property in the 2009-2010 school year. In 2011, there was somewhat of a survey that included kids nationally from grades 9-12. Of the kids surveyed, 5.9% said that in the 30 days prior to the survey, they felt unsafe at school while 5.
4% reported having taken a weapon on school property. Twenty percent reported being bullied on school property in that 12 months prior. So, how could all these numbers be classified? In all or most of these statistics, the general categories are bullying, fighting (or assaulting), possession of drugs (drug use), sexual harassment, vandalism, theft, and bringing dangerous weapons on school property. I think I will give details for each, but the key point I will be focusing on is bringing dangerous weapons on school property. We will just start with bullying and work our way through the list. In definition, bullying is the “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.
” Bullying can be verbal, social, or physical. These actions can ultimately lead to self hatred, as well as anger in the victim towards those who performed the bullying. This can also lead to other forms of school violence, making the situation worse. Bullying is more easily addressed and handled with younger children, but is harder to identify with young adults. Next we go into fighting. This is pretty basic; most everyone knows what fighting is.
In my opinion, there are two crucial types of fighting: verbal (emotional) fighting and physical fighting. Verbal fights or arguments can lead to physical fights, but not always. Fighting in general risks the safety of those participating. Not only that, it can be a risk to the safety of the other students around them. This also could include various objects that could be used as weapons, but we’ll go into that later.
The usage of drugs can also be a contributing factor towards the action of school violence. Not only are drugs dangerous in and of itself, but just as alcohol, it can impair judgement and stunt logical and coherent thinking. Simply the possession of drugs brings about a danger to an individual’s peers. In essence, substance abuse can lead to addiction and can cause one to become violent if they have to withdraw at any point. Next we will cover sexual harassment.
I see sexual harassment as a form of violence because of the fact that the uncomfortable remarks and gestures could progress into something worse. That being said, this is a risk to student’s safety. It is also not uncommon in school systems; however, it is more likely to happen with adolescents. (Which, I think is because of the changes happening within their bodies and the greater production of certain chemicals, but that’s moving into a different topic.) Now we move on to vandalism. Vandalism is destroying or devaluing other people’s property.
It can be considered violence because it can start a fight between two people. It could also leave dangerous things to hurt students, such as broken glass. Vandalism can also range from something as minor as drawing on a desk to breaking a window. Theft is basically the same as vandalism, in that it could cause fights between two people. Theft is pretty commonly known. It’s basically just stealing other people’s personal belongings, or school/government owned belongings, such as a textbook.
Now that we’ve got all those covered, we can finally get to the biggest topic, and possibly most crucial: bringing dangerous weapons on school property. There are many things that could be considered as a weapon, two of the most common being knives and guns. In definition, a gun is “a weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells, or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise.” The definition of a knife is “an instrument composed of a blade fixed into a handle, used for cutting or as a weapon.” Guns are basically anything that applies to the definition given.
Knives, however, can be a little more broad. There are several types of knives, just like with guns. But people can actually make knives themselves, if they really wanted to, which could also be referred to as a “shiv” or a “shank”. Guns, for minors, are harder to acquire than knives are. There’s a variety of places they can get them from, however, and it’s not impossible to retrieve.
Family members, such as parents or grandparents can own a firearm in their home. If not kept in a safe location, it can be easily accessed by said minor. It doesn’t always have to be family, though. At times, there are family friends, older siblings, or peers that could have acquired such a dangerous weapon. Knives, however, are much different. Most every family owns a knife of some kind, normally a kitchen knife or switchblade.
There are many kids exposed to these at a young age because of certain family traditions, such as fishing or hunting. Cooking, also, contributes to this exposure. If not kept in a safe place, knives could also pose as a potential threat and weapon for minors to use. Despite being careful, however, knives can just as easily be made from common household objects. Other dangerous weapons could include billy clubs (batons), brass knuckles, nunchaku, or anything that could bludgeon somebody. Brass knuckles are legal to own, but are not legal to carry with you.
So, there really isn’t any point in owning these because they just serve as a safety hazard. The same thing generally applies to the others. The last weapon I’m going to cover is bombs and explosives. These are really not that hard to access. One could simply look up how to make it and easily acquire the supplies necessary.
It isn’t that complicated to do with the help of internet access. Now, perhaps we should move onto what could cause these weapons to be brought to school. Or, rather, what caused the individual to decide to do so. One of the main contributing factors is family and the way any given child has been raised. Certain families have certain attributes that distinguish them as a whole, which is normally passed through the parents. Think about this: the “average” family is considered to consist of 2-2.
5 kids, both parents working, a nice, clean home, and unity between all members in the family. At least, this is what society depicts as average. But as many of us can agree, not a lot of people are like that. Also, there are different methods and styles of parenting depending on each family. What one parent does, may not be the same as what other parents would do.
That being said, most children are raised differently, and in a different environment than most of their peers. Some children might have been taught how to shoot a gun at an early age, while other might have not learned at all during their childhood. Some parents may have been more open about “adult” issues than other would be. So, let’s just face the fact that there are kids that live in abusive situations, or their parents smoke, drink, and do drugs. It’s reality, and we have to live in it, right? Of course it’s right. Children in situations such as these could be neglected, exposed to excessive amounts of violence at a young age, and may not grow up viewing a healthy relationship, which in effect can mess with their social lives a great deal.
Family affects how children behave and act socially in school, or other public places. Some kids will become a “problem child” getting in trouble with the teachers, being mean to other kids, so on and so forth. Or, it could go in the other direction where they feel so insecure about themselves that they recoil from any social activities or interaction with their peers. Either one of those could also lead to mixing with the “wrong crowd” and getting themselves into trouble. Another result to this could be bullying.
It is a rather serious matter, considering how badly it affects the victim. It could be something as simple as insulting a certain outfit, or as complicated as degrading those because of their sexuality. Nearly every person I’ve talked to has said they’ve been bullied at least once in their lives. Yet now, they’re completely normal and seemingly fine with themselves. So why does this sometimes progress into school violence? It may seem as if I’m going in circles, but again, this can relate back to family and home situations.
If children don’t get that emotional support at school, and come home to receive the exact same treatment… how are they to handle this? Some kids are able to speak to a school counselor, or teacher, but not many children have that courage. After going so long with the repetitive verbal, emotional, and/or physical abuse from their schoolmates, it can take its toll on the mental health of a person. Without the proper guidance, their judgment can also be distorted and can cause them to develop mental health problems. One of the most common ones could be depression or anxiety. Not everyone will resort to the school shootings, or snapping one day and attacking their bullies. Sometimes the results are things such as suicide (or attempted suicide), self-harm, substance abuse, withdrawing themselves from reality, and so much more.
Another thing that can contribute to school violence is media and entertainment. Stars, those characterized as beautiful, and those praised by many for their talents (or lack thereof) have a great effect in the decisions the young and impressionable children make. By children, I also mean teenagers. At this point in our lives, we are still young, and trying to find our identity. Many of us adopt idols and famous people as our influences based on our hobbies, skills, and talents. And not many stars think about this, but there are teenagers, children, and even some adults looking up to them, noticing how they act, what they do, and the manner they go about a given situation.
If one of these idols is a heavy drinker, and seems pleased with it, well, it might give a minor the impression that drinking is good for you. It would also be a way that they feel they can connect with the person they long to be like so much. Television shows and movies can equally have the same effect. Something to keep in mind, though, is that each person is different. This meaning, two people might view the same thing completely different than the other. It’s just how our personalities, values, and upbringings differ.
So now we can discuss what can be done in a crisis. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You might say that you would do something, but in the heat of the moment, where you’re caught with certain problems and outcomes, it isn’t that simple. Normally, schools have a system they put in place to keep kids safe, or as safe as they can get. You, as a student, have to follow their instructions exactly as you’re told. If not, you can be endangering not only your life, but also the lives of your peers and of your teacher.
You should take everything seriously. Finally, there are ways to prevent school violence. The very first thing you can do is be more accepting. Treat others kindly and with the same respect you would want to be shown. You have no idea what goes on with the other person, who could very well be plotting his or her own demise and you wouldn’t have the slightest idea of their intentions. Trust me, when a person feels like they are alone, a simple friendly greeting could be just enough to give them hope.
If you see someone is being bullied, tell an adult. That person may not feel like they can tell somebody, and this could very well save their life, and other people’s. This same rule would go for you seeing illegal activity, such as drug use, or vandalism. It also applies to a situation where you think someone is being abused in some way. Ways that parents could prevent these things could be to keep dangerous weapons locked up and secure. They should also take the time to communicate with their child, and whatever the response may be, you should let your child know that you care for him or her, and will be there to help them when and if they feel like they need it.
Also, if you see signs of depression, or other mental health problems, you should make plans to meet with your child’s teacher/s, or have them evaluated by a mental health professional. Last, just make sure you keep a watch over your child’s behaviors, and check their messages and computer history once in a while to ensure they aren’t looking up information that could be dangerous to them or others. In conclusion, school violence is a very serious matter, but can easily be prevented by taking precautionary methods and being more alert of the people and happenings around you. Do not judge others on they way they look, act, or feel, because you don’t really know what that person is dealing with. Simple and random acts of kindness can help others find hope, and feel as if they’re really not alone. If someone is upset, be supportive, and try your best to be understanding.
If you yourself are having problems, or conflicted thoughts, find somebody you trust to talk to about it. Keeping it bottled up will only lead to your breaking point, whatever and whenever that may be. In recent years, the rates on school violence have increased significantly. Can we take the steps necessary to help fix these problems and make a better world (and learning environment) to live in?