Violence in the Public Schools
Safety in schools has been a major cause for alarm in the recent past. Cases of violence in schools have been on the rise, a case that has instilled fear on the parts of the parent, guardians, and teachers. Authorities have been on the spot for the rise in violence and many questions of what is happening and who is not playing his/her part remains unanswered. These incidences have led to the conclusions that the children lack discipline and are much more affected by peer pressures.
Several incidences have occurred and many have been very startling. Incidences such as a shooting spree where in 2005 a teenager aged 16 (Jeff Wiese) shot seven people and wounded more than thirteen then committed suicide in Red Lake Minnesota was one of the horrific incidences (McCluskey, 2005). Another incident is a sexual assault on a special education student aged 16 by a group of boys in Columbus Ohio. A worse incident still happened in Philadelphia where 19 students were stabbed by a classmate aged 8 years using a hypodermic needle. Many crimes have been reported in public schools and some of them include; rape, sexual harassment, physical attack, fighting with or/and without weapons, robbery, theft, possession of weapons illegal drugs, and vandalism. When such crime goes on in public schools, then one can conclude that the education system is raising future hooligans, thugs, and worst of all terrorists.
Statistics of incidences
According to Miller (2003), 71% of public elementary schools had at least a violent incident between 1999 and 2000. Figures of approximately 1466,000 violent cases were reported in public schools during that period. 52% of the total schools had reported threats of physical attack without a weapon. Very few incidences are reported to police as figures indicate of the 1.47 million cases of violence identified only approximately 257,000 were reported to the police. Of the incidences that occurred approximately 61,700 cases can be classified as seriously violent. Many of the violent incidents are seen to concentrate in secondary and junior high although even these cases have been reported in the elementary school (Miller, 2003).
The government has been considered ineffective and unable to counter the violence and take actions. Many parents, students, and policy makers have been concerned about the next cause of actions. Most of these violent crimes remain unreported and many students may be suffering in silence and many misreport incidences for fear of the repercussions. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 has been neglected and not used to defend the children that are harmed each day by the violence. The US department of education has been blaming the absence of adequate data in the delay and ineffectiveness.
There are many factors that have been given for the rise of violence in public schools. Some of them include; internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Internalizing behaviors are responsible for withdrawal, inhibition, anxiety, and depression. Some of these internalizing behaviors have been linked to the use of drugs and other substances. When such internalizing behaviors are overlooked by the teachers then with time they create violence. Externalizing behaviors are linked to delinquent behaviors, aggression, and hyperactivity. These are directly connected with the violent behaviors e.g. fighting and are learned through observing others.
Individual factors are also responsible for violence in public schools. Many of the individual factors are linked to high levels of aggression. Such individual factors include low IQ and gender. Low IQ can lead to high levels while boys are more affected than girls. Others include motor skills, lack of attention and problems related to reading in the class. Antisocial behaviors also contribute to the violence.
The home environment; when a child is exposed to guns, violence, alcoholism, domestic violence physical abuse by the parent and sexual abuse by teachers it teaches the child that violence is right and acceptable. Television and violent video games has been a major lead in exposing the children to violence scenes. When the parent is too harsh on the child then the child may react by increasing aggressiveness.
Corporal punishment by the parent makes the child has preference of violence in solving his/her disputes while it also leads to poor outcomes in performance. Abusive home environments have been found to inhibit social cognitive development this later has an impact on the social development and relations of the child which can cause violence as a form of defense.
Surrounding environment; some neighborhoods are filled with crime and drugs, these teaches the children violent reactions which replicate in schools. The children are taught defiance, aggression, crime, drugs, and use of weapons from their home environment and end up trying it at the school environment. Several gangs even recruit school children to be their members. The school environment has also been linked to violence. When teachers assaults children and even favor some others it can lead to aggression on the child this will translate to hatred and violence. Some children even drop out of school due to lack of attachment to the school environment, but before dropping out they cause violence just to be expelled.
Laxity of the school authorities; the school authority have been reluctant to deal with the incidence and many are never reported to either the parent or relevant authorities by the principals or teachers. Some school administration try to defend the school’s honor and feel that reporting such incidences will taint the image of the school. When children see cases not reported and no action taken then they can be motivated to continue with such actions. Such cases of impunity increase the occurrence of such cases.
Preventive and curbing measures
Violence in public schools should be stopped at all costs. The strategy to curb the occurrence of violence should aim at the society, the school community, the family and the students (Burns, 1999 p.112).
Intervention will aim at changing socio-cultural aspects that cause or are suspected to cause the violence. This can aim at reducing media violence, reversing social norms, and restructuring the education system to suit the required syllabus. In terms of school management classroom management techniques and close supervision of students should be practiced. The family should be reshaped since it can change the whole being of the child. It gives the child a social standing and awareness hence making the child be a better person in future. The children who exhibit signs of aggression should be treated psychologically and taught on conflicts resolutions.
Violence has claimed the lives of many innocent children and hence it should be curbed. All parties involved should be actively involved in the measures so as to prevent occurrence of such horrific acts in future. The parents should be actively involved in bringing up of the child and not leaving all the tasks to the teachers who already have the burden of teaching and families. Such measures as home schooling should be introduced for students who seem violent and cannot be changed. Children should be taught on discipline by their parents since lack of discipline in public schools is evident. Children should be brought up in a religious way and taught to uphold values of humanity so that their future is shaped. A collective responsibility of all stakeholders is necessary to avoid increase in violence.