The Problem of School Violence
Columbine High School, April 20, 1999 was the scene of a massacre, but in wake of this massacre America experienced an epiphany. Tragically, this was not the last we would here about crimes of a similar nature to this one. From 1996 to 2000 an unprecedented slew of violence occurred. There were twelve incidents which received national coverage and left many millions more questioning what happened, what went wrong, where did this come from. This clearly marked the social evolution from the 1950's Mickey Mouse and Leave it to Beaver social ideal to our present day Marilyn Manson and Snoop Doggy Dog pluralist sub-cultures. Whether the events that were mentioned above are the social ramifications of Media or Family is not the immediate concern. The immediate concern is what is it that we do now in the faith of common sense to immediately battle back. The question to ask is what we are doing to stop and prevent crimes and offenses, whether they are on the magnitude of Columbine or the classic tale of the bully vs. the nerd.
Walking into a public high school three years after the epiphany and one will witness a very different approach towards the matter. Let us take into to consideration the following scenario: Student A occupies the parking spot of Student B, an exchange of vulgar profanity takes place. Both parties leave and there is no fight but a growing animosity is left in the minds in each of the groups. Teacher X witnesses the incident, hence informs the dean about the altercation. In the middle of the day Student A and Student B are beckoned from their respective classrooms to attend a mandatory Peer-Mediation discussion. Both students meet confined in a room and with a student and the dean present. They are told to narrate the events that took place. The intended outcome is acknowledgement of guilt by one side or clearing up misunderstandings. Peer Mediation is just one many way public schools through out America are trying to prevent school violence. In order to understand the policy of public schools prevention and measure them we must see how these methods are implemented, what is that works in the prevention tactics.
Although peer mediation has found some success through the research of the University of Florida's conflict resolution/peer mediation research project it is not the only method of prevention says the center for prevention of school violence. It is their belief that schools need to incorporate a much larger concept of school safety. They need to design a plan for every area of the school from restrooms and locker rooms to the councilor's office and the principal's office. This "think tank" that was started in 1993 believes that in order to create a safe environment in which students are worry free and are not in the constant anguish of looking over their shoulders, parents also need to get involved with their children. This gives a the student a wholesome life style in which there are checks and balances from all aspects of daily life whether they are family, school, or work. They argue that we cannot just strap metal detectors to every entrance of every high school in America, which would be like "shutting the barn doors after the horse is out, or you can say it just a band aid. Along with these technological aids and a comprehensive environment where the youth feel that they have a place to turn to where it is they are, is what will really solve the roots problem.
These were just some of the techniques and plans that have been drawn up. Many of them are similar. Where they differ is where to draw the lines as to what is the most productive and effective tool. By examining this aspect we would know where to concentrate our effort and resources. The National Crime Prevention Council is a leading authority on this issue, although they are only known to most people by the group that sponsors McGruff the crime dog. What does work, works on three different levels, identifying problems in an individual, engaging awareness of the issue, and promoting physical prevention features such as metal detectors. So what works is a balance of Teachers, students, principles, parents, Law enforcement, and the community engaging in the three levels mentioned previously. According to NCPC there is a direct correlation between in community involvement in crime prevention and reported teen crimes.
As far as this issue is concerned the solution to the problem will be identifying the root of the problem. Some people are quick to blame the media, while some blame parents, and others blame the schools themselves. The solution does depend on the problem and identifying is very critical. At the same time you cannot just for all the psychologists to submit their research and studies before something is done. Introducing see through back packs and implementing no hat policies do little to address the issue. These types of procedures in public schools invoke backlash, further confrontation, which leads to further violence. , Never has there been a healthy relationship or organization in which there was no conflict and hence no resolve. Americans need to try to take control of today's youth and the violence that is and has been developing in this country for many years. Although violence will never be extinct, there are many different ways to reduce violence.
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