Preventing School Violence

The number of extremely violent crimes occurring in schools has been increasing over the last three years. Incidents that deal with school violence occur 16,000 per school day, which is equivalent to once every six seconds (Kipnis 11). School violence has been around since the1950\'s, but back then it was more an issue of juvenile delinquency than violent behavior (Baker 3). Crime in and around schools is threatening the well being of students, as well as the staff and surrounding communities. When looking at the urgent problem of school violence one must take into account several factors including the characteristics of the offender, the causes for the violence occurring, and the solution techniques.
To act out violence, in school, against each other, is the common definition for school violence (Gerson 15). The characteristics of the offender play a great role in being able to prevent school violence. Parenting failure has been found to be the number one cause for the violence occurring in schools (Futrell 2). When students were polled in 2000, seventy-one percent stated that there was a lack of parental supervision in their homes (Futrell 5). Sixty-six percent of those polled also stated that there was little if any family involvement in their school activities (Futrell 5). Students who have been abused, neglected and/or received little support from a caring adult are extremely likely to show their frustrations with violence (Kipnis 2). The home life problems of students definitely contribute to school violence. Currently, fifty-seven percent of children under the age of ten have two working parents or a single parent, and more than ten million students return to empty homes everyday (Kipnis 19).
Another factor that contributes to school violence is peer pressure (Volkoh 4). Thirty-four percent of students believed that school violence occurs because of peer pressure (Futrell 9). Peers of violent offenders believe that the offenders take place in the violent incidents to fit into a crowd and do not think about the repercussions (Baker 33). Peer pressure is the fastest growing factor contributing to school violence (Gerson 46).
Another factor that has been found to contributing to violence occurring in schools is drugs and alcohol. When investigated, prevention groups found no variation in the convenience for students to access drugs and alcohol (Kipnis 73). Students with different family incomes, location, and different ethnic backgrounds had the same access (Kipnis 74). In the last two years the consumption of alcohol during a school violence incident has increased thirty-nine percent (Futrell 6).
Society believes that violence occurs only in bad neighborhoods; this is false (Gerson 39). School violence has been found in all neighborhoods. In rural neighborhoods, school violence occurs ten percent of the time, occurs thirty percent in suburban schools, and occurs sixty percent in urban schools (Kipnis 69). Violence is also occurring at all school levels. It has been found that thirty percent of the violence occurs in elementary schools and seventy percent of the time occurs in secondary schools (Kipnis 70). School violence has also been found to occur more in males than females. Males are the victims of school violence eighty-three percent of the time and are the offenders ninety-four percent (Kipnis 4).
With violence in schools rising, teachers and parents need to know what to look for in a violent offender. It has been shown that many violent offenders have the same characteristics and give many warning signs, but they go unnoticed (Baker 41). Characteristics that teachers and parents should look for in children are persistent disregard for or refusal to follow rules, lack of interest in school, absence of age-appropriate anger control skills, depression or mood swings, artwork or writing that is bleak or violent or that depicts isolation or anger, and self-isolation from family and friends (Futrell 5).
School violence is also taking place with different types of weapons. Since 1997, an increase in guns being used to carry out violent acts in schools has increased three percent (Volokh 14). In 2000, it was shown that in violent acts in school, knives or razors were used fifty-five percent of the time, clubs or baseball bats twenty-five percent of the time, and firearms twenty percent of the time (Volkoh 11). Inner-city school students report carrying a weapon