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Throughout the United States, we will come across school violence. It has been one of the significant concerns about schools across the country. Schools are supposed to provide a safe environment for all faculty and students. When you go to school, you don't expect anything to happen to you because it's a building filled with students trying to get an education. School violence can be anything from bullying, sexual assault, rape, verbal abuse, and even worse to shooting on campus. There isn't any way to prevent school violence from happening, all we can do is educate people about the situation and pass on the knowledge.
There are numerous incidents that happened in the United States relating to school violence. There are several reasons why these incidents occurred, it can be from getting revenge on someone, mental problems, and sometimes there is no real answer to why they did it. There is no age group of children relating to school violence; anyone can be a victim.
The study found that males are more likely to start school violence than females (Warner, B. S., Weist, M. D., & Krulak, A., 1999, pg 58). When violence is the solution to deal with the problems they usually use a firearm. A study from the Center of Prevent Handgun found that 93% of the time firearm is involved are used during school violence (Warner, B. S., Weist, M. D., & Krulak, A., 1999, pg 59). School violence happens in elementary school, high school, and middle school. Out of the three schools, the middle school had the highest risk of school violence.
A study in 1970 found that middle school had double the amount of school violence than high school (Warner, B. S., Weist, M. D., & Krulak, A., 1999, pg 59). Most of the time, when a student attack, they usually know the victim or know their name.
In the National Institute Of Justice Research of the 53 schools, administrators that were involved in this survey 48 schools answer saying there are facing violence in their school (Sheley, J. F., & Wright, J. D., 1998, pg 7). They found that only 2% of the schools found guns least, which is extremely low, so that means 98% of the schools do found guns as a serious topic on a school campus. During the survey, a total of 59% of schools had an incident with a firearm on campus just from the last three years (Sheley, J. F., & Wright, J. D., 1998, pg 7). The school needs to improve on its security on campus because if they don’t try to protect the campus, then they don't care so much about students' safety. For example, schools trying to control violence is by giving students a dress code, search every student locker, getting suspended right away if they find a weapon, and disciplinary systems for the students. But not all schools make these rules for their students. Some schools don't have anyone to monitor the hallway, check students' and teachers' IDs when entering the building, and might not have campus police walking around the building. All these little things can make a big difference on school grounds, and it can prevent school violence. Knowing that there is campus police patrolling the building will scare kids not to bring a weapon to school.
The school shooting has been a hot topic when it comes to school violence. Almost every year we will hear on the news that there had been a school shooting. It makes students feel unsafe and worry that their school might be the next victim of school shootings. Beth Warner, Mark Weist and Amy Krulak did a survey in 1990 with schools in Chicago and found that 50% of middle school students that school was dangerous and one third, so student brings some weapon to school to feel safer while they are in school (Warner, B. S., Weist, M. D., & Krulak, A., 1999, pg 63). Not only students don't feel safe inside the building but walking to school, and they are scared they might be a target. When students don't feel safe going to school, they find a way to avoid going to school; for example, they might skip school. When they are in school, students avoid walking at a particular part of the building and also avoiding people.
One of the most tragic events relating to school violence is the school shooting at Virginia Tech. It all happened on April 16, 2007, by a student named Seung-Hui Cho. Before Seung went to Virginia Tech, there were already a lot of red flags about his behavior. While growing up, Seung was facing “social anxiety, depression” and muteness (Flynn, C., & Heitzmann, D., 2008, pg 2). He didn't have any close friends besides his sister and family. When he was in the eighth grade during his writing class, his teacher noticed his weird behavior in his writing he kept writing the phrase “to repeat Columbine”(Flynn, C., & Heitzmann, D., 2008, pg 2). Columbine is a high school there were two active shooters that killed ten students in the library then the shot killed themselves afterward. In high school, they placed him in “Emotional Disabilities and Speech and Language”(Flynn, C., & Heitzmann, D., 2008, pg 2). But when he started school at Virginia Tech Seung did not tell the school about his medical record which was a bad idea because he had told the school about his medical record they would have been able to help him throughout his four years in college. With his history background, there were signs that he would be a school shooter. He had suicidal ideas, writing down stuff about suicidal and homicidal thoughts, but when he was careful not to get caught (Flynn, C., & Heitzmann, D., 2008, pg 3). Overall, during the Virginia Tech shooting Seung shot a total of 49 students and teachers and killed 32 people. Then he ended up killing himself.
During the attack, the Virginia State Police were there on the scene for over a week to help out and update news for family and friends. But in the meantime, the school contacted the governor in Richmond for backup, and they were taking forever to arrive at the school. The Department of Social Services wanted the Criminal Justice Services to be at Virginia Tech, but they didn't show up until April 18 which had been two days after the attack (Davies, G. K. (2008)., pg 13). The Virginia Tech police and Blacksburg police department work together very well helping out at the scene, but also they had worked together in the past. They were the first people there when they first heard about the gunshots going off. The officers were in front of Norris Hall 3 mins after hearing the gunshots and to then 5 mins to get inside the building. But there was an error when the media gave some updates to the public. The first thing was they were not too sure if the suspect was still inside Norris Hall but yet announced that he was not inside the building. The second thing is that the school administration did not contact the school’s senior at the meeting to tell the whole school that two people were killed so that the school could've been on lockdown to make sure no one else gets hurt (Davies, G. K. (2008)., pg 13). Also, there was a total of 14 Emergency Service team at the scene to help the wounded individuals. It took police officers and other help services a while to get students and staff out of Norris Hall because they were traumatized and scared to leave the building.
In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting the Chief and the school came up with ideas and tools to help students that more distressed. The first thing is the school counseling center needs to follow up with students that are mentally ill. Being there for students every step of the way and looking after these students making them know the school has their back. But due to the lack of funding and staff, there is a limit to what they can do to help the students. School resource needs to be more severe and help students because it can prevent incidents from happening. The next thing is being able to access student privacy and having a consultation. Right after Virginia Tech, the U.S. Representative came out with a bill called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). They can have access to student education records and other personal records. So if a student did not report to their school that they have a mental illness, the school have the Educational Rights and Privacy Act that lets them access their background. By doing that, the school knows how to help the students while they are in school. And another point is getting comprehensive data and college surveys each year on mental health. The school will receive reviews from students on their status on their mental health to see if they had improved and getting feedback. The aftermath of the attack affected a lot of people's mental health. Students and faculty were in shock and didn't know how to deal and cope with losing friends and family.
While Virginia Tech was one of the most tragic events of school violence during 2007, school violence had already happened years ago. The National School Safety Center came out with a report from 1994 to 1996, and just those two years, there had been 105 death on school grounds, 20 committed suicide, and 85 homicides (Flynn, C., & Heitzmann, D., 2008, pg 77). They found that most of the violence came from using a firearm.
The firearm has been the popularly used weapon to perform school violence. That’s due to easy gun access. The National Institute Of Justice Research found that 48% of children get their firearm by borrowing it from a family member or a friend, 4% took the gun out of the house without telling anyone, 6% stole or traded a firearm before and 7% didn't any explanation of why they had possession of a firearm (Sheley, J. F., & Wright, J. D., 1998, pg 4).
School violence can be brought out in different ways. It happens all over the United States, and it is challenging to try to prevent it from happening. It can happen anywhere and at any moment. When school violence does happen, each person reacts differently and cope differently. We need to be aware of the people that we are around so we can help them and try to prevent tragic events from happening. The school system needs to do a better job of supporting its students and providing them a safe environment.
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