?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 we
sure that this is true anymore? The threat of attacks in schools create fear and disorder in
students and teachers. Every year, three million students in the United States fall victim
to crimes at school and almost two million of these incidents involve violence. In a study
conducted in 1995, thirty-four percent of middle school students and twenty percent of
high 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. Eight
percent of teachers say that they are threatened with violence at school on an average of
once a month and two percent report being physically attacked each year (CRF
Middle school students are more than twice as likely as high school students to
be affected by school violence due to two reasons. First, middle school students are in an
early adolescent state and are often physically hyperactive and havent learned acceptable
social behavior. Second, middle school is the first time students come into contact with
young people from different backgrounds and distant neighborhoods, which are very
different to them( CRF WebLesson).
Many schools are seeing a need to stop the violence and are starting to enact
discipline codes, conflict mediation, school uniforms, and increased security measures.
The most used discipline code has probably been a zero-tolerance policy such as
the 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 have
gone 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 expelled
and theyre not in school any longer, they are on the streets getting in more trouble than
they ever could at school. The major problem is inconsistent application and
misinterpretation of the policies, when the policies are suddenly announced leaving no
room for administrators judgment or students due-process rights(Guidance Channel).
Many schools have developed programs to build self-esteem and social skills to
improve communication between students. In some schools, teachers and students are
required to get to know each other in group discussion sessions. Educators believe that it
is important to break down the cold, impersonal atmosphere of large schools by creating
smaller communities of learning. More teachers and smaller class sizes will minimize
school violence associated with classroom overcrowding. They also believe its helpful to
offer specialized vocational training and instruction in career development to prepare
students for life in important ways that they can recognize(CRF WebLesson).
Another popular policy is school uniforms. A study by the U.S. Department of
Education suggests that school uniforms can help reduce theft, violence, and the negative
effects of peer pressure caused when some students come to school wearing designer
clothing and expensive shoes. It prevents gang members from wearing gang colors and
signs that could cause trouble and helps school faculty in recognizing people who dont
belong on school campus. Its too new to tell if school uniforms will have a long-term
impact on violence. Parents, students, and teachers tend to find uniforms demeaning and
turn 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, and
increased locker searches. These measures prevent violence but they also have
complications. They are very expensive and it takes a long time to scan every student in
the 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 yet
and a violent crime is usually committed by the one that no one ever suspects. The little
things like teasing and name-calling that no one thinks will do any harm are what causes
hatred towards another person. These little things lead up to big things like shooting and
they need to be stopped in order to end the violence in our schools.