Violence in Schools
By Khan Bilal Khan

June 20th, 2009.
Have you ever been subjected to violence in your school or institute? Well, if yes, then you are not the only one. There are so many cases in which many children are subjected to some sort of abuse by students and even teachers, that it is unbelievable.
Violence in schools has become a big problem in today’s society. With all the people being injured or killed in schools by guns and other weapons, more and more people are getting weapons to bring in to schools.
Social, economic and cultural differences may result in such violence which are unfair, to say the least!
The causes of school violence are complex and varied. Forensic psychologists who study criminal behavior believe school killers are very different from other violent youth, such as gang members or drug dealers. For whatever reason, they feel powerless and begin obsessing over killing or injuring others. They may make direct threats concerning those they feel are taunting or intimidating them. They often express these thoughts and plans to fellow students.

Each case may represent a unique combination of factors. Some are physical, some behavioral, and others are learned. Physical factors can include birth complications. For example, being deprived of oxygen during the birth process can lead to brain dysfunction and learning disabilities. Violent behavior has been linked to certain forms of these abnormalities. Similarly, head injuries have been shown to increase the potential for violent behavior in certain individuals.
Behavioral problems can be linked to a difficult personality, which leads to problems of interacting with others, impulsiveness, and being unable to conform. These children may not blend into school activities and become ignored and rebellious. Some become depressed and take medication that can produce serious behavioral side effects. Broken family relationships can also be a major factor. Harshly treated children are more likely to behave violently later in life.
Being bullied or teased by others can often lead a troubled youth to violent revenge or retribution. This factor showed up repeatedly in the school shootings of the 1990s and beyond.
Violence in schools has progressed from bloody noses to bloody gun shot wounds. Kids now days observe so much violence it’s almost predictable that they act this way. Several incidents have taken place which emphasise the need to a solution to this problem.

One such tragic incident that took place in Lahore, Pakistan, involved the killing and wounding of a couple of students which was initiated by a personal dispute. At times, students get frustrated due to being overworked or by being picked on in school and these results in skirmishes between fellow students.
Teachers too are often involved in such abuse or violence. Certain students are caned and beaten up by hand or sticks. This further isolates a student and adds to his/her trauma. Not only student’s studies are affected but also the personality of a person deteriorates. Confidence is lost and the student becomes aggressive and intolerant.
Is this what’s school is all about?
Undoubtedly the answer is no but what can we do to try to eliminate or at least reduce violence in schools?
Though we first think of beefing up security to prevent violence at our schools, a new study shows that there may be an alternative. A new report indicates that a school climate resulting from character education and social skills training may be a better way to keep out the violence.
In the wake of school violence such as the shootings in Paducah, KY, Columbine, CO, and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, school crimes and security measures at schools have become a major issue. “In 1999-2000, 71 percent of public schools in the United States experienced at least one violent incident,” according to researcher Greg Chen of the City University of New York. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, that number rose to 78 percent in 2005-2006.
Many school officials have responded by adding extra security measures on the premises, such as metal detectors, security guards, and surveillance cameras, and by instilling harsher penalties, such as expulsion or suspension, for any aggressive act. However, a recent study by Chen shows that this response may not only be ineffective, but misguided.
*This study, “Communities, students, schools, and school crime: A confirmatory study of crime in U.S. high schools,” focuses on the relationship between community, student, and school characteristics and the effects on school crime. In particular, this study focuses on ‘urbanicity’ (the urban or rural location of a school), the amount of crime that has occurred in the community the school is located in, the socio-economic status of students, the size of the school, the frequency of misbehavior in classrooms, access to campus and the monitoring of students once they are on campus, the number of serious penalties that have been imposed, and the total number of criminal incidents that have occurred in the past 12 months.
What Chen found was that school climate (defined as school size, student mobility, and student misbehavior) had an enormous effect on school crime, showing that the higher the levels of student mobility and misbehavior, the higher the rate of school crimes. School location, school size, and the socioeconomic status of students showed a moderate effect on school crime. Chen also found that “schools that create and maintain a positive culture through character education and social skills training seem to be a better alternative for consideration in combating school violence.” One unexpected finding was that specific security measures and intervention programs had no impact on the incidence of school crime. Because of this finding, Chen suggests that instead of instilling punitive measures to help reduce school crime, school officials should consider implementing “programs that facilitate and enhance a positive school climate” instead.*

The data for this study were taken from the 2000 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), which was conducted by the National Center for Education Research. *

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