In Parenting

Controlling School Violence

Violence is defined as any act or behavior that involves physical force with the intention of hurting or killing someone. It also pertains to the willful destruction or damaging of property. It can also denote the strength and intensity of emotions or a natural force with the power to destroy property or cause death. Learn more on School Violence Now!

School Violence and Bullying Between Peers

Bullying between peers is the most common type of destructive behavior in students. It can vary greatly in the degree of severity ranging from name calling to physical acts carried out against a student with the intention of doing them bodily harm. While any form of bullying is intolerable, much of it goes unreported due to the victim’s fear of reprisal. This type of bullying often begins in the earliest years of school and has been known to occur during a student’s college years.

Children in elementary, middle and high school are often bullied for being different or not quite fitting into the more popular circles of students. Although many schools have anti-bullying rules, they can only be enforced if the bully is caught in the act of hurting or demeaning another student. Schools have started to assign stricture punishments to children who bully their peers.

College students are often subjected to hazing rituals when they attempt to enter a fraternity or sorority. Many hazing rituals are harmless, but a few have been known to result in the death of one or more students. The majority of colleges and universities across the country have banned hazing as part of the initiation process to get into fraternities and sororities. If student’s are caught breaking the rules, they can be expelled indefinitely or face permanent expulsion if the offense was severe enough.

School shootings like those at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech were committed by students who had been set apart from other students either by their own choice, or by the bullying tactics of others. Either way, the students felt compelled to act out against the individuals who had harassed them.

School Violence and Cyber Bullying

Another form of bullying occurs on the internet. The most widely publicized case of cyber bullying involved Megan Meier. A fellow student of Megan’s created a fake social media account where she befriended her. The other student claimed to be a boy from a different school that liked Megan. When it was believed Megan trusted her “new friend”, they suddenly turned on her. Posts were sent that attacked her looks, her credibility and even her friendships. In her severely distraught state, Megan hung herself. She was only 14 years of age.

Cyber bullying takes harassment to a whole new level for one reason. The internet can hide the true identity of the person committing the crime. While their real identity can eventually be learned, the time spent tracking the information down can result in a traumatic experience for the child or student being bullied.

School Violence: Teachers to Students

Cases of students being bullied by teachers have also been reported. Students who have trouble learning certain concepts or have undiagnosed learning disabilities can place teachers under tremendous amounts of pressure. Many times, their frustration shows in their teaching style. Threatening or lashing out at students is now being looked at as verbal abuse and falls into the category of bullying.

Most teachers are able to refrain from taking out their aggressions on their students. When this type of bullying occurs and is reported to school authorities, immediate action is taken to recreate a more positive learning environment. With new laws being mandated to control bullying in schools, teachers as well as students must strive to be on their best behavior.

School Violence: Coaches to Students

With emphasis being placed firmly on who is the best on the athletic field, coaches have immense pressure placed on them to produce the best, most talented athletes possible. Many use verbal antics to motivate and inspire their athletes to push forward no matter what the situation. Some coaches get so caught up in their own rhetoric, they lose control and have been known to verbally or physically abuse their players.

The two most prominent examples of this are former Indiana University coach, Bobby Knight, who was well known for his verbal aggression and the incident where he threw a chair out onto the basketball court. Recently, Rutgers’ basketball coach, Mike Rice was fired after a video surfaced of him screaming and slapping his players.

School Violence: Students to Faculty

Fewer cases of students perpetrating school violence against faculty members exist, but they do occur. In some cases, it can be because a student feels he has been treated unfairly or is being singled out by the teacher as a troublemaker. This type of aggression is common but rarely acted up. Most students choose to bully people who they perceive to be weaker than they are. Often this type of school violence takes the form of destroyed property instead of physical or bodily injury.

School Violence: The Big Picture

The big picture when it comes to school violence boils down to who is truly at fault, who has the most responsibility and above all, what can be done to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. Knowing and understanding what signs are normally present is the best way to prevent most types of bullying. Parents, teachers and students should all be observant when it comes to reporting specific behaviors. Individuals who are constantly talking about killing others, destroying property or other hate speech should be carefully watched to determine if they have an issue that needs to be addressed.

The parent’s role in the prevention of school violence begins in the home. Offering the student a stable environment is the first step. Carefully guiding the student and showing an avid interest in the student’s activities, grades and,life in general, is the best way for the parent to notice if something is amiss with their child. Safety begins in the home and should be carried over into the schools and other places children go as the begin to mature.

Teacher’s play an active role in the prevention of school violence as well. While parents mostly see their child’s behavior in a home environment, teachers are able to see how they interact with their peers and other adults in real world settings. Watching how student’s act and behave in a group setting are key indicators if one or more of them bully other students. Children and teens who are overly aggressive or pushy in elementary school, will often continue to get worse. They may begin by verbally abusing other students. If that is not stopped, it can escalate even further into physical violence.

The school system and the faculty it employs also play an important role. It is not good enough that they draft anti-bullying rules and regulations. They must also act on them, even if the job is unpleasant. School systems and their faculty must stand firm and punish students according to the guidelines enacted by the school board. If they do not, it sends a clear message to the students that nothing will happen to them if they defy the school board’s policies.

Preventing school violence and bullying is not easy. It takes a concerted effort on the part of every individual involved. Students, teachers, parents and faculty alike must all be on the same page for any anti-bullying regulations to be established and followed. The hope provided by the strict regulations allows students a small chance at redeeming themselves. Students who make a sincere effort to stop bullying and come to terms with their victims and the lasting damage they may have caused are usually the ones who were not meant to be bullies in the first place.

School violence and bullying (in any form) can cause lasting damage. Doing your absolute best to show the perpetrators that violence has no place in schools may help divert some of their aggression elsewhere. By working together, all parties involved can learn to recognize possible signs of bullying and stopping them before events escalate to the point of extreme violence.

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