I write with a nimble hand dictated by the synchronized rhythm of my heart and mind. My pen cuts through the center and down under.
Putting an End to Violence in School
Violence is a matter of serious concern that many people suffer from. There are many individuals who face every day with the fear of facing violence. Others have already suffered from these violent situations through traumas that have seeped through their consciousness which they have difficulty getting over. Violence may scar a person for a lifetime. In this case, I would like to assert that violence in school should be fought not only by the victim but also by the school and by the members of the family. A full force should be exerted by these people so that violence can be lessened or even eradicated. With all of them working against violence and having the full understanding of it, violence can be lessened if not eradicated.
Definitions of Violence
Violence is described as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, underdevelopment, or deprivation" (www.who.int 2015). This definition tells us that violence is not just physical harm but also the intentional use of power to do psychological harm and deprivation. It is does not mean that if it does not have blood or bruise, it is not violence anymore.
The World Report on Violence and Health (2015) also determines the typology of violence which would help people to understand the situation and to know how to categorize the situation. In this case, the typology points out four modes of violence which are physical, sexual, psychological attack and deprivation.
According to Olweus (1999) as cited by O’Moore (n.d.), violence is characterized in the broader sense, to include behavior by people using physical force which causes discomfort or injury on an individual. Aside from that, “violence has been defined in a broader sense to include behavior by people or against people liable to cause physical or psychological harm,” (Gulbenkian Foundation, 1995) as cited by O’Moore.
According to www.cdc.gov (2015), research and programs that include youth violence include individuals between the ages of 10 and 24, although patterns of youth violence can begin in early childhood. During these ages, the individual spends most of his time inside the school which leads us to the next idea – violence in school.
Just like how it is quoted in www.betterworlds.net (n.d.), "the schools play an important role when it comes down to protecting children against violence. Violence is one of the principal reasons why children don't go to school. It's also one of the causes of the alarming school dropout rates." In this case, there should be an immediate action to this alarming case since children spend most of their lives in school that if violence would not cease, it may mar them for life. As how the quote goes, the school as well should protect the students against various forms of violence.
Types of Violence
There are various types of violence. These are self-directed violence, interpersonal violence, and collective violence (www.who.org 2015). Self-directed violence pertains to the type of violence where the perpetrator and the victim are the same individual and this type can be further categorized into self-abuse and suicide. Another type is interpersonal violence which refers to imposing violence to individuals and can be further divided into family and intimate partner violence and community violence. Both of these may happen everywhere. Lastly is the collective violence which refers to violence done by larger groups of individuals which could be divided into economic, political and social violence.
In this context, the violence that will be tackled is all about school violence. Aside from the violence which can be imposed by people of moral ascendancy or perpetrators with older age, another form of violence that can be talked about is bullying.
Bullying can be considered a form of violence where the damage could either be physical, emotional and also psychological. Compared to violence, bullying has not decreased over time as compared to violence in the areas of America (www.bullyingstatistics.org 2013). In this case, bullying, as a form of violence, is widespread in schools and can be identified as name calling, teasing, pushing, hitting, threatening, social exclusions, and spreading rumors. These are still quite evident in American schools and even in schools around the world. Bullying can happen in schools, homes, playgrounds and in this generation, even in social networking sites. This form of violence has scarred a lot of students who either got over the treatment or opted to be consumed by the acts of bullying to the point of suicide.
On the other hand, violence such as homicide in schools also transpires. There is glaring news about students who suddenly stabbed classmates or shot students dead that were delivered through the news. Given these, this paper would explore the ideas about violence and bullying.
Reasons for Violence
Violence and bullying can be misinterpreted and underestimated by many students. There are a number of students who think that this case should just be ignored and time will pass and it would also pass. Such action would just allow violence and bullying to carry on. Aside from that, it should be noted that schools have tight policies on violence and bullying since it is considered as a serious offense which could lead him to be sent out of the school or campus.
One primary reason to consider in bullying and school violence is that it is a result of the youth’s differences, behavior, and socio-economic status that turn out to be grounds for bullying (Seifert 2012). These differences become the reason for the students to become noticeable and be bullied by students who think that they are within the set standards of being normal. Disabilities, racial differences, appearance like being the nerdy type or the not-so-beautiful student become the root for violence and bullying.
Most of the time, the perpetrators are other students who want to assert their strength and dominance on the other person. These people tend to hide their insecurities and weaknesses through their acts of bullying. Other victims think that these perpetrators would just stop in time and reporting may just create a bigger problem but that is not the case.
In a case in America, a 17-year-old alleged gunman, T.J. Lane started shooting people in the Chardon High School where three students were left dead and three were wounded (Seifer 2012). According to Lane, he did the shooting because he saw himself as an outcast who is bullied. It turned out that he was also a victim of domestic violence.
There are various other possible reasons for violence. One to highlight is the lack of attention. With what Lane did, he got the attention that he sought for and was able to get what he wanted. This lack of attention also roots from several factors which may be due to family problems, birth defects and psychological challenges.
It is noteworthy to consider that every case is different. Violence may root from physical, behavioral, and acquired matters. For physical aspect, birth complication may be seen as a reason. During birth, if there is deprivation of oxygen, brain dysfunction may arise and learning disabilities would follow. According to www.law.jrank.org (2015), “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.”
Another ground to consider for classroom violence and bullying led by the teacher is the lack of patience of both the students and teachers. There are times when the teachers cannot handle the stress inside the class anymore that they give in to their temper resulting to unfavorable actions that affect the students. On the end of the students, they could also display actions that may lead to misunderstanding to the both parties. If the student cannot understand the teacher’s lesson or the teacher’s actions, this may create a heated up debate leading to violence and abuse. Of course, before jumping into conclusions, several angles should be taken into consideration.
In terms of violence imposed on students by teachers, the students may start to lose interest in going to school and worse, may even resort to just excluding themselves from the world knowing that the person that he or she is dealing with is of higher authority. The impact may turn out to be more of psychological in nature. Verbal and non-verbal abuse can be grounds to consider in these types of incidents.
On the other hand, violence or bullying on disabled students could also create a big impact on these students. Given that they are already facing a pressing issue that they are disabled, the loss of self-confidence may be aggravated with bullies around. Schools have programs for these types of students as to provide them support and to teach them how to defend themselves against these types of attacks. There are also schools which put disabled students together so that they would be with people who are in solidarity with what they are undergoing. Special Education centers and programs are created for disabled people which could really be a big help for them.
Usually, the fear of students gets to interpret their teachers as people who could be sources of violence and abuse. The simple ways of being verbally embarrassed and psychologically threatened are already grounds for abuse on the end of the student. However, these assumptions should be diagnosed first and looked into since there are criteria for judging whether the acts are abusive and violent or not. This diagnosis can be done by guidance counselors and psychiatrists who are trained to look into such cases. However, before announcing and concluding matters, due process should be taken since what may be done through impulse may strike back on the alleged victim.
In the past, the punishment style of teachers has brought various cases for violence and abuse. Those times when corporal punishments were allowed, the teachers can hit, spank or do physical punishments towards the student.
It is fairly possible that teachers could indeed do violent things but in the current time, with all of the protection given to students, it turns out the teachers are being maltreated and violated instead. According to www.curry.virginia.edu (n.d.), student threats of violence against teachers went down in both the public and private sectors which are highly evident in secondary schools. It should also be noted, however, that the percentage of teachers “who were physically attacked by a student during a school year has not significantly changed over time.” In this matter, it should be highlighted that not at all times, the violence does not merely fall under the category with the teacher as the perpetrator and the student as the victim since in other contexts, teachers are also violated as well.
Recommendations for Prevention of Violence
Given these ideas about violence, some actions could be done to avoid violence in school or in any place. Although not all the time youth have older people around, people who are considered with moral ascendancy can take over these matters since they are the ones who can take responsibility to prevent these forms of violence. Teachers, older siblings and other people who are in the right age and right thinking can be the first people to prevent occurrence of these violent matters. One of the things that can be considered is the separation of the student from the classroom from the entire class if the student is already a big threat to the safety of the entire student body. This is not a form of discrimination most especially if the student had already hurt a lot of students. After that, it is most appropriate, especially in case of classroom violence cases, that the teacher would turn over the student to the guidance counselor for timely processing and talk to the student. It should also be noted that there should be briefing to teacher on how to properly communicate with violence cases within the campus premises. Proper way of handling such cases would decrease the possibility of aggravating the casualties of the violence if the teacher or someone with the same status would now how to handle such type of situations. There should also be standard operating procedures once such cases happen.
Of course, this is not solely the responsibility of the teacher since the guidance office and the office of the discipline should have programs and seminars in terms of handling such type of situations. School policies should be clear and be made clear to students and parents so that they know the punishments to any form of violence. This will also serve as assurance to parents that the administrators are doing their end to protect the students while in school. The guidance office should also have a solid school safety plan. One can never say that since the students are in school. They are already safe. Many things can transpire with the diversity within the campus.
It should be underscored that the safety is not just the responsibility of the teacher during that time. Any forms of incidents would also fall on the school’s policy on violence and their actions in preventing such things to happen.
More than these suggestions, the precautionary measures and the knowledge on how to handle violence should be known by the students to start with. No matter how good the plans of the school for the students, these would not work if the students would not know what to do when such times come. Whether it is the mildest form of bullying or any form of violence, the student should report the incident to the proper authority. Once this is kept, the violence and abuse would persist. Individuals standing up for their rights and fighting for what is correct for them would be the very first thing that victims should learn how to do. Tolerating the case and succumbing to the threats of the violator would just aggravate the situation. First thing to do is to set down and do not allow emotions to strike. The victim should learn how to control their emotions despite the numerous reasons for him to hit back or strike back. It is also never recommendable for them to be engulfed by their fear. Standing up for one’s rights would include allowing the authority to handle the situation. The incident should be immediately reported to the teacher and the authorities since they are the people who would know the due process for cases of violence. It should never be settled by just putting justice on the victim’s hands since that might produce another form of violence. Violence being treated with another form of violence would be a perpetual violence.
If the person who imposes violence to the student or the victim is the teacher, this should be reported immediately to the proper authorities. There are tendencies that students may feel scared about reporting the teacher but it should be emphasized that his rights should be always protected more than anything else most especially if it is proven true that the teacher violates the student already.
Lastly, the parents would be able to help in this situation by opening their lines of communication and setting the limits of the actions of their children if their son/daughter happens to be the bully. As stated in a list by www.pta.org (2015), knowing the warning signs, strengthening communication and being involved in the child’s life in school and in other aspects could prevent forms of violence.
Given these ideas about violence and bullying, it should be underscored that these forms of abuse can be prevented with the help of the victim, the school and even the parents at home. These cases should be addressed quickly since they are not things to be taken sitting down because it may lead to grave damage to the victims who may have his or her self-esteem shattered which could even lead to suicide in the end. In this case, violence should be reported to proper authorities even before it results to a bigger problem. It is also helpful to know the types and characteristics of the violence that one may experience so that if a person is being violated or bullied, actions could already be carried out.
Violence in school is a matter to pay attention to since it may destroy the students or even take away their lives in any time. Attention and time should be given as to fight against this problem that has been lingering in classrooms and campuses ever since.
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Checklist to Help Prevent Violence in Schools. (2015). Retrieved April 8, 2015, from https://www.pta.org/content.cfm?ItemNumber=984
Definition and typology of violence. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.who.int/violenceprevention/approach/definition/en/
National Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://curry.virginia.edu/research/projects/violence-in-schools/national-statistics
O’Moore, M. (n.d.). Defining Violence: Towards A Pupil Based Definition. Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.schoolbullying.eu/doc/Violencedefinition.pdf
Seifert, K. (2012, March 19). Bullying and School Violence. Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.howtolearn.com/2012/03/bullying-and-school-violence/
School Violence - Causes Of School Violence. (n.d.). www.law.jrank.org. Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://law.jrank.org/pages/12100/School-Violence-Causes-school-violence.html
Youth Violence: Definitions. (2015, March 5). Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/definitions.html