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  Education > Pedagogics
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Article on stopping school violence

Understanding why our children/students are resorting to physical violence in school and finding ways to stop the violence and learn to heal.

Forty years ago the biggest problems in the lives of teachers and students in our school systems were things such as: gum chewing, forgetting a pencil, and excessive talking. Today, teachers and students only wish their problems were so trivial. The mention of towns like Jonesboro, Columbine, and Santee cause these same teachers and students to cringe and learn in fear. Why do our children learn in fear as apposed to forty years ago? The answer isn't always a simple one to pin point.

Parents, students, school faculty, and even politicians have different opinions as to why our children bring guns/weapons to school to solve conflicts. Many Americans feel that if children had better parental supervision in the home then they would be less likely to lash out at their peers. School educators believe that bad parenting and the family that is uninvolved with the school and/or their own child's education is to blame. Still, other opinions point to environment and a child's exposure to violence through the mass media. Politicians tend to voice these same opinions, however, they also try to help find solutions to the problem.

Learning to understand our children and their needs is the first step in obtaining a solution to violence in school. A child that behaves violently, more often than not, has been a victim of physical violence themselves. Children learn by watching adults and how they behave in society. When an adult acts physically to solve a problem, children see that violent act and take away the message that it is okay to be abusive in order to get what they want. This is a behavior that most parents do not want to echo throughout the life of their child. Therefore, instead of teaching our children about hitting/attacking, we should teach them skills that will cause healing, compromise, and resolution.

Once a child feels isolated by their society, friends, and/or family, he or she will begin to show signs of being neglected by lashing out verbally, emotionally, or physically toward others. Many psychologists see this strictly as a behavioral problem caused by a child wanting adult attention. The child does not care whether or not that attention is bad or good as long as the feelings of neglect and isolation are remedied. If a child continually lashes out and is never given the attention they long for soon they will go into survival mode. Survival mode is when a child has feelings of rejection that births a deep anger within themselves that gives them a reprobate mind set. Their conscious is severed from their rational thought process and they begin to have feelings of not caring whom they harm.

The misguidedness of adult role models in a child's life is also a contributing factor in a violent child's life. A child can become confused as to the difference between wrong and right when they see other adults handle the same situation in different manners. An example of this is when child may see their own parent exhibiting signs of road rage. Their parent is yelling and threatening at other drivers in a high traffic area. However, the driver next to them seems unaffected by other drivers. Yet, even another driver impatiently maneuvers their vehicle almost causing a wreck. Whose behavior will the child later echo? Most likely, it will be the parent's example that the child will follow in the future. Children are victims and products of their environment, therefore, they must be taught responsibility and right and wrong not only at home but in society. How can a parent do this? Simple, talk to your kids frequently, and watch their behavior. If it needs modification, you will know and can solve the problem as soon as it begins.

The lack of supervision at home and school results in a child feeling they have more freedom to misbehave. It is impossible for a child to have supervision 24 hours a day. However, it is important that you give your child your time, understanding and love. They need these things in order to survive and grow up to be mentally healthy adults. It is a misconception that children that come from impoverished families are the most likely ones to be the violent offenders in school. It is true that many low income families do struggle daily to meet their necessary living needs and that this struggle does produce stress in the household. In this type of living situation an impoverished children can begin to feel neglected by their parents that work too long or too hard. However, in upper class homes where the parent indulges every material whim of the child can be just as harmful. Many times this child will feel that they should always get what they want and will lash out physically if things don't go their way. Middle class families are no exception to violence either. The very fact that most middle class families are two income families means that a middle class parent has less time to spend with their children resulting in neglect. That neglect can lead to the middle class child acting out to get attention. Parents need to offer their children strong, positive guidance, discipline and leave time for nurturing.

While it may appear that most violent acts in school most frequently occur from male students, the violent acts from female students is rapidly on the rise. Therefore, it is safe to assume that these violent acts are not gender oriented. A child's behavior is not always determined by what sex they are. Students have deducted that there are four reasons for most violent acts in school. First, they agree with society's opinion that violent children have poor parental supervision. Secondly, they believe that influence or peer pressure from friends, groups, memberships, and/or gangs is a strong instigator to violent acts made by students. Thirdly, they consider the effects that drugs and alcohol has on their lives and believe it too could be a contributing factor. Lastly, students reveal that many violent acts are race or religion motivated.

School violence is usually targeted toward students between the sixth and tenth grades. However, a minority in this grouping is more likely to be physically assaulted than any other of their peers. Teachers are also victims of school violence and tend to feel less safe out of the shadow of the education system and in their own homes. Our children have placed fear into our schools and because of this fear the quality of education has been affected. Inadequate education leaves students frustrated, which can lead to delinquency, antisocial behavior, and criminal acts. These three side effects will eventually lead to physical violence.

So what can be done to prevent your child from becoming violent in school? Parents should make time to help their child develop into a productive member of society. Talking with your children is a good start. Answer their questions as honestly as you can. Teach them clearly the difference between right and wrong and give them good problem solving skills. A parent's example can say more to a child that a thousand conversations so let your actions speak louder than your words. Home is the best place to give your child morals and ethics that they will later take with them into their school environment.

Schools have taken on the challenge of solving the problem of violence in school. Solutions that not only make all children safe in their teaching environment but also make them better citizens within the community. Extremely violent students are sent to boot camps, shock incarceration programs, or they perform community service. Education institutions have become aware of the increased availability of weapons in school and because of this they randomly check backpacks and lockers. Many schools have guards and metal detectors at their front doors. Schools add to this security by putting up fences and blocking access to roads. Also, they have begun to lock and chain doors that should not be accessed by students. Teachers and parents visiting as teacher's aides, help to monitor students for discipline problems. New dress codes and discipline codes have been established to make school a less controversial environment. School counselors are on site to talk with students and help them resolve their problems. Many schools have instituted Conflict Resolution Programs within their system. A Conflict Resolution Program is a program that can defuse potentially violent situations and offers alternative nonviolent means to resolve students' differences. Crisis Centers within the school is also a place where teachers can send students to cool off when they become angry and to get counseling for that anger. Ideas such as these can help students feel safer within their own environment.

Remedies to prevent school violence are growing everyday. Our children should be safe in their learning environment and not live in fear that one of their classmates will assault them or even kill them. If the problem of school violence is not solved eventually these violent students will become tomorrow's citizens. Citizens that don't know right from wrong, who do not care whom they harm, and who must get attention or their way the fastest way they know how. This is not how we view the future of the younger generation. Therefore, we must teach our children at a young age right and wrong, problem solving, and also show them the right way to live by our own examples of the lives we lead before them. It is up to all of us (parents, students, school faculty, and government) to give our children a brighter future and to show them a better way.

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1. John Dewey - My Pedagogic Creed
2. The Pedagogic Challenges of the Future
3. The necessity of education and the importance of maintaining pedagogics as an independent discipline
4. Education of national minorities in Lithuania
5. Library impact on children
6. Education Information: School choice vouchers
7. History and American education today
8. Student discipline: is suspension the answer?
9. High school reform
1. High school reform
2. Education of national minorities in Lithuania
3. The necessity of education and the importance of maintaining pedagogics as an independent discipline
4. John Dewey - My Pedagogic Creed
5. History and American education today
6. Student discipline: is suspension the answer?
7. Library impact on children
8. Education Information: School choice vouchers
9. The Pedagogic Challenges of the Future