School Violence Essay, Research Paper
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine
High School in Littleton Colorado, firing sawed-off shotguns and
tossing homemade pipe bombs at their fellow students. Twelve
classmates and one teacher were killed and twenty-three students were
wounded before Harris and Klebold turned their guns on themselves.
This was soon to be remembered as the biggest high school shooting in America.
Columbine is among many schools with violence problems. These problems
concerning violence in schools are caused from a number of problems within schools
such as gangs, social factors, psychiatric drugs and even the influence of the media.
Although violence is committed everyday in schools certain measures can be taken
to prevent the violence from prevailing.
One of the largest problems with violence in schools is gangs. Gangs in schools
have potential to do more damage than imaginable. They are recognizable by their
clothing. Gangs are sometimes recognized by the colors that they wear such as red,
blue and black. In the famous Columbine shooting the gang named the Trench Coat
Mofia was distinguished by their black trench coats and their gothic appearance.
Appearance is important since different gangs have different images.
Appearance is important and that is why president Clinton has worked with
school districts such as long beach located in California to support school uniforms
as a method for reducing teen violence. There are two ways that school uniforms
can reduce violence in schools.
One is that students will be better able to avoid the kind of trouble
caused by showing gangs colors and styles (weather on purpose or
accidentally) when they pass through gangs territories on the way to and
from school .(Goodwin 97)
The other way is that uniforms allow for easy and immediate identification of
outsiders (like older gang members who do not belong on campus) (Goodwin 98).
Another problem with with violence in schools is Psychatric drugs. According
to a study done by president Clinton after the Columbine shooting, six million
children in the us between the ages of six and eight-teen are on mind altering drugs
prescribed for mental illness (Grapes 91). The most popular of these types of
psychiatric drugs are Ritalin, Luvox and Prozac. At the time of the Columbine
shooting Eric Harris eight-teen had been under the influence of Luvox along with
and antidepressant to control obsessive-compulsive disorder. Oddly enough four
days prior to that shooting Shawn Cooper, a fifth-teen year old sophomore at
Notrus Junior High in Idaho was taking Ritilan for a bipolar disorder when opening
two shotgun rounds nearly killings students and staff. Within the past year five
other school shootings have been caused due to psychiatric and prescription drugs.
There is little evidence to support a scientific basis for classifying
ADHD as a mental illness. On the Other hand , there is an abundance of
evidence that stimulants such as Ritalin can produce symptoms such as
mania, insomnia, hallucinations, hyperactivity, impulsively and
inattention. And the DEA’s list of potentially adverse effects of Ritalin
includes psychocis, depression, dizziness, insomnia, nervousness,
irritability and attacks of tourettes or other tic syndromes. While Ritalin
is the drug of choice for treating ADHD, other mental illnesses such as
depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. (Grapes 55)
A horrible moment happened at the time of this famous Columbine shooting
American life was questioned on such issues as schools, parenting, guns and the
entertainment industry .
Most Americans already know that too many of movies, television
shows, music songs, and video games are filled with trash: grisly murder
scences, dismemberment and disembowelment, nonstop profanity, rape
and torture scenarios. The revenant questions are: Does it really matter
and if it does how much and what can we do about it? (Grapes 60)
Almost know one can deny the truth which is that children today are being
influenced by the media.
As of right now there are a small percentage of movies, music, television, and
Internet usage that can control what children are aloud to see or hear.
Unfortunately for most kids their situation is not so great they are being exposed to
this type of violence everyday. More research should be done on this topic that is
why parents should be extremely careful in monitoring what their children are being
By now, it’s over. If you are reading this, my mission is
complete….Your children who have ridiculed me, who have chosen not
to accept me, who have treated me like I am not worth their time are
dead. They are F*cking dead… Surely you will try not to blame it on
the clothes I wear, the music I listen to, or the way I choose to present
myself, but no. Do not hide behind my choices. You need to face the
fact that this comes as a result of your choices. Parents and teachers,
you f*cked up. You have taught these kids not to accept what is
different. You are in the wrong. I have taken their lives and my own-
but it was your donning. Teachers, Parents let this massacre be on your
shoulders until the day you die. – Eric Harris
Above is a letter written by Eric Harris one of the two Columbine killers.
Social factors are a big part of life in high school, and being an outsider is one of the
hardest things to be in high school. Hollywood is a perfect example of what creates
this all the cheerleaders and football players are the “cool kids” who just happen to
be better looking characters. High school is the same way. Some feel that they
simply can not be excepted because of how they look while others feel just the
opposite, they can’t except others for the way that they look.
For kids who feel that they are outcasts there are Groups such as the boys and
Girls group who help teens feel more accepted. There are plenty of other groups
that also help with this and can give these teens a sense of belonging.
There are 192 million privately owned firearms in the United States and seven and
half million guns being added to that list every year (Grapes 71). In 1996, handguns
were used to murder two people in New Zealand, fifth-teen in Japan, thirty in Great
Britian 106 in Canada, 213 in Germany and 9,390 in the united states (Grapes 71).
According to the centers for disease control more children are killed each year by
handguns than all natural diseases combines(Grapes 71). Virtually every man,
woman and child has access, day or night to combat weapons and hand guns. It is
human nature to occasionally snap in chaotic ways such and the united states along
with the untied industrial region allows it’s population to have access to guns.
The answer to all this is simple there needs to be tighter gun control laws and
access to guns needs to be tougher. The United States needs to sit down with the
leaders from countries such as New Zealand and Japan to talk about how they
handle their gun control situations and figure out what needs to be done across seas.
There are many problems to violence in schools but there are also many
solutions. One Solution is peer mediation. Peer Mediation is where students learn.
to talk out their anger. Peer Mediation can also Help with social factors such as
being an outsider. Maybe If Eric Harris would have gone to peer mediation the acts
that he committed would not have been done. Another Positive thought about peer
mediation is that it may even help students from different gangs or even just social
groups that they are all teens experiencing the same problems.
The Boys and Girls Group is a group based primarily in urban areas helps
different gangs who would normally be in rivalry fights and blood battles become
friends and work together. Each new member is welcomed by an adult staff member
who helps in making them feel more accepted.
Although in some schools it is all right for the teachers to be armed this makes
kid feel threatened in a positive way so that they know what their limits are and not
to open fire in school. And yet there is still one more solution.
Designers and architects are trying to make school a more welcoming place.
They want to lower to locker to waist level in some cases eliminate them completely
so students can’t hide behind them or use them as place to hide their guns. Some
say that there should be glass walls so officials can see what is going on in the
classrooms. And finally using lighter colors to soften the atmosphere with in the
schools to make kids feel more relaxed.
Preventing school violence is a tough task. Schools need Zero Tolerance to
establish firm rules and tough guidelines. Teachers and other administrators need to
start early off by teaching kids reasoning with their problems.
There are lots of problems with violence in schools such as easy access to guns,
social issues, the media, Gangs and how psychiatric drugs can cause children to flip out
and cause problems at school. On the flip side to each problem there is something positive
that can be done to prevent or help eliminate it. Violence in schools is a problem and in
needs time be fixed.