School Violence 4 Essay, Research Paper
On March 24, 1998 in Jonesboro, Arkansas two young boys ages 11 and 13 years old walked into their middle school in full camouflage gear and heavily armed and open fire on the student body. At the end of the day reports read that 4 female students and a teacher was killed; in addition to those killed, 11 were wounded. According to Connie Tolbert “Someone pulled the fire alarm inside and they went outside, and two people in camouflage clothing started shooting” (CNN online “5 dead, 11 wounded in Arkansas school shooting” March 24, 1998. http://www.cnn.com/US/9803/24/school.shooting.folo/). How can school administrators and parents help prevent the overwhelming of violence that s taking place inside our schools?
Jimmy is five years old and his having some major problems in school. Almost every week Jimmy is either in a physical fight with another student or he is yelling at the top of his voice to one of the little girls in his class. Jimmy ’s home life is one that is not worth talking about. Jimmy’s father is known throughout the community for beating his wife and Jimmy as well. When Jimmy’s father comes home after a 12 to 15-work day, he is very aggressive and tends to become really violent toward Jimmy and his mother. Even in times when Jimmy is in need of help with his homework, Jimmy’s father becomes angry and yells negative comments towards Jimmy. In addition to be being in a home where domestic violence is present, Jimmy is often left alone after school to do whatever he pleases. Most of the times after school Jimmy usually comes home and turn the TV turn to his favorite cartoon show Southpark. After watching Southpark, Jimmy would either play the video game Mortal Kombat or he would watch some more TV. His teachers know Jimmy for not turning in his homework assignments.
The first step in the process in of attempting to prevent violence at schools throughout the country is to examine the environment that children are being raised in. When focusing from this prospective, one must look at the various areas. These areas include, but are not limited to mental and verbal abuse, violent image children are introduced to through the media, and the parental role that both parents are apart of. In James Garbarino Time Magazine article, Garbarino stated eighty-five percent of youth violence is committed by boys. In addition, 90 percent of the boys blame that bad parenting and a bad environment. (James Garbarino, Time Magazine Some Kids Are Orchids page 51). While children are exposed to various forms of abuse metal and physical abuse are the most difficult. Moreover, they are the most difficult forms of abuse to detect. For example, Jimmy is five years old and he is working on his math homework. One of the questions Jimmy is asked to solve the following problem 2+2=? Jimmy cannot remember the answer so he asks his father to help him. Now, Jimmy s father just arrived home from a 12-hour workday and he is very tried and grumpy. Instead of trying to help Jimmy figure out the problem, Jimmy s father yells, ARE YOU STUPID? The answer is 4. Because of the reaction that he received from his father, Jimmy is now afraid to ask his father for help on any of his homework. Although this reaction from his father happened at an early age, Jimmy will always remember that he is stupid in the eyes of his father. Once a child hears a negative comment from his or her parents or even from his or her siblings about his or her ability to do something he or she then stores that comment in the brain, therefore always remembering the incident. In the case of Jimmy, after hearing for years and years that he was stupid, he began to act and believe that he was truly stupid. So, when he goes to school he begins to act out his insecurities. In addition to him not paying attention inside the classroom, Jimmy begins to associate with other students who feel the same way that he does. Thus, by speaking negatively to a child, a parent is in the process of laying the foundation for their child or children to become possible violent. Moreover to the verbal and mental abuse the child may receive at home, there is another form of abuse that the child may witness. This abuse is domestic violence. If a child is raised in a family in which they have witnessed the mother being physically or mentally abused, then the child begins to take those same qualities of the father. If the a young boy is raised in a home in which domestic violence is present and the father is the victimizer, then there is a strong possibility for the boy to take on his father s violent traits. Besides just witnessing what is happening to his or her mother, the child could also be on the receiving end the abuse. Thus, the child now take those same traits that they see inside their home onto the playground of the school yard and begins to react the events he or she sees inside their home. And during these reactants the child begins to acts out the violent traits in which he or she receive from his or her father. Once a child becomes accustomed to a certain environment, the child begins to look for role models and heroes within society that resemble itself. Thus the child would turn toward the media to help them find those role models and heroes.
When television was created violence entered every American s home. American children watch an average of three to four hours of television daily ( Children and TV Violence Parenthoodweb.com). During those three or four hours of watching television a child may see 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other acts of violence by the time they finish elementary school (Anita Diamant, Parents Magazine Media Violence: Protecting Children from its Effects page 40). The television is a very important tool within our society. We use the television for our source of daily information as well as for entertainment. However, the problem with the television is that there is too much violence on TV. Some of the programs in which are highly watched by children are Southpark, World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Monday Night Raw and Thursday Night Smack Down and the Jerry Springer Show. The common factor that these shows have in common is they all promote violence For example, the cartoon show Southpark is about five elementary school kids who are really close friends. The show promotes child to disrespect adults, to use profanity, and that it is okay to stereotype someone because of their race. A character named Kenny is killed at the end of every show, but he always returns in the next show. By the killing of Kenny, the creators of the show are telling the kids that watch the show that when you kill someone they will come back to life. Not only is the show sending the message that killing someone is normal , but they also send a hidden message in which tells kids that it is normal for adults to resolves conflicts through violence. In addition to promoting violence among the children that watches the show, the show also promotes for kids to disrespect their adult figures.
The TV is not the only form of media influence of violence that children have to choose from. Along with the television, children also have the choice to play violent video games such as Doom, James Bond, Dungeons and Dragons and Mortal Kombat. All of these games reward the player for the killing of his opponent. As a case in point, the video game Mortal Kombat rewards the player for killing his opponent in the most painful. According to the National Coalition on Television Violence, more than 75 percent of video games contain violent images (Diamant, page 40). Similar to the way that the body builds up a immune system to fight off disease, a child also builds an immune systems towards violence, however this immune system in courage violence instead of rejecting it. Along with becoming immune to violent acts, children who watch violent shows also begin to identify with certain characters or either the victims or victimizers. The media plays a strong part in the development of our children, nonetheless the role of an active parent is even more important in the growth of a child.
Dr. Leonard Eron professor of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor at the Institute for Social Research You first learn violence at home…children whose parents used the harshest disciplinary methods– spanking, hitting, and abusive language – were more likely to start fights with other children (Diamant, page 41). Unfortunately, most parents today are too busy with work and trying to raise a child that they do not have time to place their child or children in extracurricular activities. By not allowing their child to take part in extracurricular activities, the parent(s) is almost telling their child to go and watch TV or better yet go and play a video game. When a child is involved in outside activities then he or she is not around a television set and therefore they are able to take in less amount of violence then their counterparts who are not involved in outside activities. Likewise to the child s involvement extracurricular activities, the involvement of the parent(s) is in the child s activities is also important. It is not just the parent(s) jobs to place their child in an extracurricular activities, but it is also the parent(s) jobs to take an active role of support in the active that the child is taking part in. When a parent is not involved in the child s activities, the child begins to believe that his or her parent(s) are not instead in his or her active. And as a result of the parent(s) not taking the part in the child s activities then the child begin to withdraw from the his or her parent(s), thus leading to the child to become lonely. Loneliness is a sign in which many child psychologists believe is a strong sign of possible violent outbreaks. In the case of the two young men who opened fire Columbine High School both of them were consider as outcast or loners. Therefore an active parent(s) is very important to the growth of a child. If the parent(s) is active them there is a strong possible for the child to be less violent then his or her counterparts of the same age who is not active or who s parent(s) is not active in their life.
Picture a small town in the middle of North Dakota with a population of about 5000 people. Now in this town there is only one elementary school, one junior high school and one high school. Because there is only one elementary, junior high and high school in the town, all the children that attend either one of these school really gets to know one another. Mostly the entire student who starts elementary school together usually graduates from high school with each other. Last year high graduating class a total of 25 graduates. Out of all the schools in the town there has not been a major act of violence in the past 35 years. When asked by a local reporter by they believe there is absolute no violence in their school systems, school official said that there are three key factors in which for when trying to keep their schools safe. The first step is the low amounts of students who are enrolled in the schools. The school superintendent said that by having lower numbers of students enrolled in the schools the school official could take help the students feel as if he or she belongs here. The second step is hiring more teachers and counselors who are willing to take the time out of their busy lives to help a student at need. The superintendent stated that by having mentor-mentee relationship students feel as if they can talk to their teacher about anything. The final step in creating a violence free school is the creation of extracurricular activities for the students to get involved in. By having after school programs it is unlikely for the student to go home and sit in front of the TV. Besides, by us keeping the students after school the student parent(s) does not have to worry about whether their child is safe or not.
School safety has become a major issue in our society within the past year. After the schools shootings in Oregon, Arkansas, Colorado and Michigan many parent(s) and school officials have been trying to find a scapegoat to blame for the increase of school violence. But the real people to blame for the increase in school violence are school officials. Similar to the way that parent(s) are blame for the up-bring of a violent child, so should the school be blame for not trying to create activities for the child to get involved. In order to bring down the amount of school violence that occurs school administrators must look towards alternatives routes such as lowering the size of the school, the hiring of more teachers and school counselor, school administrators must create strategies on ways to create and fund more extracurricular activities. The size of a school is important to in determining whether the school will be effective in both creating a safe environment and in creating a sense of belong for the students. By students having a sense of belonging to their school, then the students feel that they have more of a responsibility in take care of the school physically as well as taking care the individuals who attend the school. The problem with the school system today is that too many schools officials does not have the students feel as if they are apart of the school community. Thus by the not creating a place in which students can feel proud of and can stand up and say that I belong here school officials are encouraging students to act out their violent traits. The only way in which school can create this sense of feeling is by lowering the size of the students body. School officials need not look at the fact that there may be 10 or 15 schools in one city, but instead they need to look at the effects of having smaller schools. An in addition to creating smaller school in, which creates a sense of belonging, school administrators also need to hire teachers and counselors. With the hiring of stronger teachers and guidance counselors, schools administrators are able to place strong positive role models and heroes inside the schools. By having a strong teacher and/or counselor in the school who truly expresses to student body that the school administration truly care for them. The student begins to feel that they now have a personal contact in which they can turn to for advice and who they can trust (Russell Quaglia, NASSP Bulletin Making an Impact on Student Aspirations: A Positive Approach to School Violence pages 56-60). Through the hiring of stronger teachers and counselors, school officials can establish mentor-mentee programs in which students are matched up with teachers who are enthusiastic, caring, well trained and who is willing to take the necessary times to become involved in the student s academic and personal life. Now, that the teacher or counselor is involved in the student s academic and personal life the teacher or counselor now has a greater chance in helping that student create a sense of belong to the school as well as helping the student create a sense of self-identity. Similar to the role of the parent as laying the foundation for the child s growth, school officials are creating building the frame in which will help mold the child into a productive member of society. The last step in the construction of the frame is the creation of extracurricular activities for student to become involved in during and after school. Since 1984 the State of California has built 21 new prisons and only ONE university (CNN online. Study: California spends more on prisons than schools Nov. 2, 1996). Now, by the State of California reducing the amount of money spend on prisons, school districts throughout California can use some of that money to bring back programs such as music and drama. With the creation of more extracurricular activity student begin to feel as if they have accomplished something. By having more extracurricular activities such as after school sports, music, drama, art, and maybe computer training programs that students can become involved with the student begins to feel that sense of belonging as well as a sense of self-confidence. Along with these activities there need to be a school administrator who is willing to help advise the student on how to run the organization. In no shape or form should the school administrators runs the organization unless the organization or program involved some training behind it. The purpose for the program or the organization is to give student the feeling of leadership and responsibility. Not only does the student develop his or her leadership skills; he or she also can also create an environment in which other student can turn to for fun and excitement.
School safety is a major issue facing American culture today. According a news article “Nearly three out of four child slayings in the industrialized work occur in the United States” (”Violence Kills more U.S. Kids” page 505). The only way for us to prevent these violent outbreaks that our youth are committing is by showing them that we truly care about their safety and that we truly want to help them. Right now the youth of today feels as if they have no one who can either listen to their problems or who can help them through certain situations. Parents now a days, are focusing so much of their time and energy to trying bring in money for the family that they forget that they need to check on their child to see how he or she maybe doing. There used to be a time where parent(s) and child would sit down at the dinner table and every one would explain how their day went, however now a days parent(s) and child do not even have five minutes to say “hello, how are you doing?” to each other. There also used to be a time when parent and teacher would get together and look over the how the child is doing in schools. In today’s culture, parent(s) and teacher do not even meet yet alone talk on the phone about the child progress. The only way for us to even put a dent into youth violence at school is by going to back to the times where parent(s) and teacher had a close relationship. By establishing a parent-teacher relationship again we will better equip in the process of noticing signs of violent out breaks. Also by re-establishing parent-teacher relationship, we are also saying to the child that yes we as a society cares about your well being and is willing to do anything and everything that is necessary for you to make in it this world. Recreation that relationship between parent(s) and teacher also show the child that the parent(s) really wants to active roll in the child’s life. Another way for us to reduce the number of school violence is by asking our officials to stop spending so much money on the building of prisons and start to fund more school run programs for students to get involved with. With an increase in school funding, school officials would now be giving the opportunity to create after school programs. And by creating these programs school officials are taking children off the streets and are bring them into a safe and supervised place. In addition to the supervision, student will begin to feel as if they have a place to belong too. With the creation of more after school programs student begin to learn things such as leadership skills and the meaning of team work; these are things that cannot be teach inside a classroom but only by actively doing them. Now that we know have to prevent school violence; the question raise now WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE KNOWLEDGE NOW?Work Cited
Author unknown Violence Kills more U.S. Kids. American Voices: Culture and Community. Eds. Dolores LaGuardia and Hans P. Guth. California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2000 Vol. 4 253-256
Diamant, Anita. Media violence: Protecting Children from its effects. Parents Magazine
Oct. 1994. 40-43.
Quaglia, Russell J. Making an Impact on Student Aspirations: A Positive Approach to School Violence. NASSP Bulletin. March 2000. Vol. 84 No. 614. 56-60
CNN online. 5 dead, 11 wounded in Arkansas school shooting” March 24, 1998. April 26, 200
Parenthoodweb.com. Children and TV Violence April 26,2000.