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Preventing School Violence Essay Research Paper Preventing

Preventing School Violence Essay, Research Paper

Preventing School Violence

Many parents know that from their child?s first day of school, his or her

safety is out of their hands. ?They disappear into a world of mysterious

cliques and rivalries, of grievances rendered in the primary colors of

adolescent emotions and animated by comic book fantasies.?(Adler 36) Parents

try to become familiar with their children?s friends, but are not sure how to

keep track of his or her enemies as well. This impotence causes major concern.

Even though school related killings have statistically dropped over the past

five years, there have been half-a-dozen significant school-shooting incidents

in the last sixteen months. (Cloud 38) Sociologists are trying to determine why

this frightening rash of school shootings now seems to be a U.S. phenomenon, and

how following basic procedures, such as: forming school policies and operations

directed at curbing violence, determining early warning signs of distressed

students, and discussing safety precautions when danger in evident in school

societies, can prevent more of these violent encounters from occurring.

Although most are safe, the violence in neighborhoods and communities has

somehow found its way inside the schools. ?If it is understood what leads to

violence, and the types of support shown effective in preventing it, schools can

be made safer.?(Mulrine 24) Sociological research teams can help school

communities, administrators, teachers, families, students, support staff, and

community members recognize warning signs early, so children can get needed help

before it is too late. (Rosenberg 34)

Well-functioning schools foster learning, safety, and socially appropriate

behavior. They have a strong academic focus and support students in achieving

high standards. In effective schools, most prevention programs address multiple

factors and recognize that safety and order are related to children?s social,

emotional, and academic development. (Drummond 29) Effective prevention

strategies operate best in school communities that focus on academic

achievement, involve families in meaningful ways, develop links to the

community, emphasize positive student-staff relationships, and discuss safety

issues openly. Treating students with equal respect by creating ways for them to

share their concerns and feelings, which may include abuse or neglect, as well

as identifying and assessing progress toward solutions, can also be helpful.

Sociological research shows that school communities can do a great deal to

prevent violence. Having in place a safe, responsive foundation helps all

children?and it enables school communities to provide more efficient,

effective services to students who need more support. (Easterbrook 54) The next

step is to learn the early warning signs of troubled children so that sufficient

interventions can be provided.

According to sociological studies there are early warning signs in most cases

of violence to self and others. Although teachers, administrators, and other

staff are not professionally trained to analyze children, they are on the front

line in observing troublesome behavior, making referrals to appropriate

professionals, and responding to diagnostic information. (Marcus 26) Thus,

effective schools train the entire school community to understand and identify

early warning signs.

When staff seek help for a troubled child, when friends report worries about

a peer or friend, when parents raise concerns about their child?s thoughts or

habits, children can get the help they need. ?By actively sharing information,

a school community can provide quick, effectual responses.?(Rosenberg 34)

Sociologists say that educators and families can increase their ability to

recognize early warning signs by establishing close, caring, supportive

relationships with children?getting to know their needs, feelings, attitudes,

and behavior patterns. (Mulrine 24) Together, educators and parents can review

school records for negative patterns or sudden changes in behavior.

According to sociologists, some other typical early warning signs of possible

destructive behavior can be social withdrawal, excessive feelings of isolation

and rejections, being a victim of violence, being picked on, loss of interest in

school, uncontrolled anger, prejudicial attitudes, gang affiliation, and serious

threats of violence. ?No single warning sign can predict a dangerous act will

occur.?(Lantieri 79) Rather, imminent warning signs usually are presented as a

sequence of overt, serious, hostile behaviors or threats directed at peers,

staff, or other individuals. These signals are usually visible to people in the

child?s school community as well as his or her family.

When warning signs indicator danger is threatening, safety must always be the

first and foremost consideration. Action must be taken immediately. Intervention

by school authorities and possibly law enforcement officers is needed without

delay when a student has presented a detailed plan to harm or kill others,

especially if the child has a history of violence or aggression, is carrying a

weapon, and has threatened to use it. (Devine 109)

After recent fatal shootings in some schools across the country, educators

have been taking drastic actions to increase student safety. Schools have been

installing spiked fences, metal detectors, and emergency alert systems. They are

also employing security guards, searching student property, and training

teachers how to tackle violent situations. According to sociologists, however,

surrounding young people with the elements of a police state may merely fuel

their fascination with guns and increase their resistance to authority. (Adler

38) This is why educators working with sociological teams have turned to the

previously discussed alternatives.

?Security and added law enforcement play a role,?(Marcus 26) but metal

detectors alone cannot guarantee safety. Schools need to look closer for the

troubled, mislead, undisciplined students and guide them through their hard

times. Sociologists believe this will help the problem of violence in schools. (Easterbrook

53) Even the best programs will overlook some mislead students, but most schools

are at least looking harder.

An environment needs to be created that will promote pro-social ways of

dealing with this conflict. ?All jocks and nerds, teachers and parents, even

the misunderstood Goths themselves, are in this together.?(Marcus 26)

Adler, Jerry; Springen, Karen. ?How to Fight Back:

Preventing School Violence.? Newsweek, May 3, 1999,

pp. 36-38.

Cloud, John. ?What Can the Schools do?? Time, May 3,

1999, pp. 38-40.

Devine, John. Maximum Security. Chicago: University of

Chicago Press, 1996.

Dority, Barbara. ?The Columbine Tragedy: Countering the

Hysteria.? The Humanist, July/August 1999, pp. 7-10.

Drummond, Tammerlin. ?Battling the Columbine Copycats.?

Time, May 10, 1999, p. 29.

Easterbrook, Michael. ?Taking Aim at Violence.?

Psychology Today, July/August 1999, pp. 52-56.

?Keeping School?s Safe: A Federal Report.? The Education

Digest, January 1999, pp. 17-25.

Lantieri, Linda. Waging Peace in Our Schools. Boston:

Beacon Press, 1996.

Marcus, David L. ?Metal Detectors Alone Can?t Guarantee

Safety.? U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 1999, p. 26.

Mulrine, Anna. ?Once Bullied, Now bullies– with guns.?

U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 1999, p. 24.

Rogers, Patrick. ?Lessons From the Past.? People Weekly,

May 3, 1999, p. 99.

Rosenberg, Debra. ?Lessons From the Front.? Newsweek,

June 8, 1998, p. 34.

Wheeler, Eugene D. Violence in our Schools, Hospitals, and

Public Places. California: Pathfinder Books, 1994.

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