Good Children And Violence: Relationships And Deterrence Research Paper Example
Media reports on the compelling nature of students’ acerbic attacks by students-the Columbine High School incident as well the attacks at Santana High School in California, have resulted in a grim picture that American schools are extremely dangerous institutions for the nation’s children. In contrast, the United States Surgeon General’s Office have stated that compared to a number of America’s communities and even homes, the school system is still comparably safer. The odds for a child at risk in school are extremely high; in fact, a child stands a far better chance of being killed in a lightning storm than being slain in school, as cited in the study of Donahue, Schiraldi, and Zeidenberg (1998). Nevertheless, one death of a child in school is too much, and the dread is real (Hudson, Windham, Hooper, 2005, p. 134).
What drives students to morph from docile individuals to cold-blooded killers? It must be remembered that the behavior of adolescents are still in their formative stages, wrestling with issues of authority and acceptance, autonomy and reliance, and exposure and protection. Researchers have found that specific personality characteristics and instances that occur in the student’s life must be considered as signs of a possible outbreak from a student if all or a majority of these signs have been manifested by a student who has made a threat. In a multi-pronged approach, these signs can include the following.
“Leakages” are when students deliberately or involuntarily disclosing their sentiments and plans to commit an attack. Another sign is the student may have deficient coping mechanisms to deal with resentment or failure, with the response of the student disproportionate to the situation. In addition, the student also harbors animus for actual or imaginary injustices. These individuals will not readily forgive the injustices against them, and may even record a list of the people that these feel committed a wrong against them. These students may also have a relentless bigoted attitude against marginalized or racial minorities, and shows these attitudes by way of wearing marks, jewelries, and book coverings (O’Toole, 1999, pp. 14-19).
Aside from school-related factors, family-oriented concerns can also contribute in the formation of violent tendencies among school children (Hudson, Windham, Hooper, 2005, p. 134). Issues such as failure or feigning ignorance of attitudes that average parents would find disturbing, stormy relationships among the parents and the child/adolescent, easy access to firearms or other weapons, an absence of intimacy among the members of the family unit, and letting the adolescent dictate the “rules” in the home, or even the parent being harassed by the child, can contribute to the development of aggressive or supremacist behaviors in the child (O’Toole, 1999, pp. 20-22).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that violence in schools can be stopped. Studies evidence those intervention efforts done by various stakeholders such as school officials, teachers and parents, the members of the immediate community and even by the students themselves can lower the incidents of violence and enhance the general school scenario. Given the list above of factors that trigger lethally aggressive behaviors, the recommendations will be limited to addressing these factors.
On the level of the student, supporting the capacity of the adolescent to resolve obstacles to reduce their tendency to engage in antisocial activities and participate in “prosocial” events. A number of school-founded programs have been useful in facilitating strong relationships between students and members of the faculty; in addition, these programs have helped display nonviolent dispositions, and help in the development of a stronger and positive school environment. Lastly, schools and the community can initiate programs designed to enhance connectivity in support of leaning objectives and eliminate instances that can contribute to the outbreak of school violence (Centers, 2014, p. 1).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). “School violence: prevention.” Retrieved 25 February 2015 from <http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/prevention.html
Hudson, P.E., Windham, R.C., Hopper, L.M. (2005) Characteristics of school violence and the value of family-school therapeutic alliances. Journal of School Violence Volume 4 number 2 pp. 133-143
O’Toole. M (1999). “The school shooter: a threat assessment perspective.” Retrieved 25 February 2015 from <http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/school-shooter
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