Wednesday, July 17, 2013

School Violence

School Violence, In the wake of tragic incidents, such as school shootings, the subject of school violence has gotten more attention in the past decade than in previous years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (Juvenile offenders and victims:1999 National report, 1999) , the actual occurrence of violent death in school is much lower than the media portrays.

Between 2001 and 2002, 17 school age victims died in school related deaths, (including accidents and suicide) as opposed to the 1999-2000 school year, in which 32 violent school-related deaths occurred. Sadly, student reports of being bullied increased from 5% to 8% in 2001 as reported in Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2002.

In order to maintain a clear view of the issue, it is important to keep in mind that school violence can include emotional and physical ridicule or bullying, assaults, threats, sexual offenses, as well as the less apparent but equally important components of graffiti and vandalism, trespassing and gangs.

The topic of school violence is one that affects all of society. Aside from interfering with the learning process, the long range effects of school violence affect us all. Statistically, children who engage in bullying behavior are more likely to become adult criminals. (Taub, 2002) Many children who display violent behavior at school are exposed to violence or abuse outside of school and may be in need of help from adults. Frequently, school mental health professionals and social workers are the main providers of mental health services for children. (Stein et al., 2003)

Awareness of potentially violent behavior and early intervention are crucial components in helping kids at risk. Equally important is caring for children who have been victims of school violence. It is common for children to keep quiet about episodes of victimization due to shame, embarrassment and fear of escalated violence. Children who are victimized in school crime often suffer from decreased self-esteem, truancy, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and in extreme cases, suicide and violent retaliation.

Bullying Online has listed warning signs and strategies for talking with your child if you suspect that they may be a victim of bullying. Adults are strongly encouraged to pay attention to unusual behavior in children that may be an early indication that a child may be a victim if violence, or at risk for violent behavior.

If you are a student who is being exposed to school violence or bullying, the American Psychological Association has designed a website for young people devoted to dealing with violence.

The distribution of serious school violence varies widely by community. Serious school violence occurs most often in urban schools. According to the Constitutional Rights Foundation, rates of school violence tend to mirror those of the general population. Typically, community violence in inner cities is more prevalent than in rural areas, which may partially prove that community violence has direct effects on children. The majority of the research to date suggests that violence is a learned behavior, so children who are acting out in violent or aggressive ways may have learned violence by repeating the violent behavior of adults. With this in mind, one can see why early intervention among school aged children is an important element in stopping the cycle of violence.

Children who are exposed to school violence need assistance from adults. Parents, educators, administrators, school mental health workers, police and other health and safety providers have a responsibility to children to provide them with the safest possible learning environment as well as keeping themselves informed about the violent issues and experiences that children face every day. Most schools have adopted a zero-tolerance policy against school violence. Anti-violence interventions that are available may include conflict resolution, good citizenship instruction, peer mediation training for children, and early warning sign and crisis response education for adults.
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Title: School Violence
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