Preventing School Violence
The increasing incidence
of adolescent violence affects both staff and students of all age levels, from preschool
to college. Experts cite many causes for this violence (poverty, family breakdown,
and racial intolerance), but they all seem to agree on two things: Our culture places
too high a premium on violence as the most effective problem solver, and our culture
makes guns too easily obtainable.
Experts also seem to agree on two
aspects of the solution. All sectors of our society working together can solve
the problem. Solutions need to involve students, but the solutions don't have to
be highly sophisticated or require massive amounts of money.
Safe homes + safe
communities = safe schools
Safe homes begin with parents spending quality time with their children and exhibiting
love and caring within the family setting. Children must be taught the difference
between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Little can be done if violence is not
seen as wrong at home.
The American Psychological Association,
in its 1993 report Violence and Youth: Psychology's Responses, states that children
who show aggressive behavior early require prompt intervention. According to the
report, such early intervention can reduce aggressive and antisocial behavior and
can also affect certain risk factors associated with antisocial behavior, such as
low educational achievement and inconsistent parenting practices.
Beware if your child is:
- Buying (or asking you to buy)
an excessive amount of blue, red, green, black, or yellow for their wardrobe.
- Wearing sagging pants on hips
- Wearing an excessive amount of
- Using excessive amounts of gang
- Withdrawing from family members.
- Associating with undesirables.
- Sleeping later than usual.
- Desiring too much privacy.
- Developing major attitude problems
with parents, teachers, or those in authority.
- Starting to drink alcohol or
- Using hand signs.
- Receiving money or articles without
- Acting unusual.
Role of parents and family
- Let your children know you like
them. Tell your children how much you admire their good qualities. Don't take their
good behavior for granted. Remember to reward them once in a while. These rewards
may take the form of extra time reading to your child, time spent in an activity
chosen by your child, or even something as simple as a hug. Listening to your children,
hugging them, smiling or talking with them are all rewards, the kind that you can
give hundreds of times every day. One of the most powerful re-wards for children
is the love, interest, and attention they receive from their mother and father.
- Let your children know exactly
what you expect of them - set limits. Children need to know exactly what parents
expect of them and also how parents will react to their behavior. It is important
to state your requests clearly. Set rules that you think are important and be firm
in seeing that your children follow them. Do not make rules you have no intention
- Encourage responsible decision-making.
If you treat children as responsible individuals, their level of responsibility
- Set good examples. Children are
great imitators. While you are telling your children why you think they should not
steal, cheat, or be cruel to others, be sure they cannot cite some example of your
behavior that contradicts these values.
- Encourage your children to respect
proper authority. At home, in school, and in other areas of their lives, your children
need to know the importance of respecting authority. Certain rules must be followed.
Help your children understand that it is harmful to them, as well as to everyone
else, to have constant arguments, fights, and problems with peers and adults. Let
your children see how their misbehavior affects other people.
- Have fun with your children.
Young people need to interact with adults. Try choosing a regular time each week
to do things as a family. Engaging in sports, playing games, sharing hobbies, visiting
museums are some of the many activities that parents and children can enjoy together.
In addition, invite your children to join you in some activities in which they may
not usually be asked to participate. Also encourage your children to ask questions
and to express their own points of view.
- Don't give up because consistency
will determine the success of whatever method you use. Form a clear objective, then
take a few steps at a time in that direction.
Worried about possible gang activity?
or Block Watch Programs
Prevention is the key
to controlling gang activity.Llook for changes in the behavior patterns such as truancy, a decline in grades, changing of
friends, late hours, graffiti in their bedrooms, and other indications of gang involvement.
1. Hold steadfast to home
2. Schedule quality time with
kids - just for them.
3. Require kids to call if
they are going to be late.
4. Listen to your child and
5. Communicate with parents
of children's friends.
6. Establish school/parent
partnerships. Talk to the principal, school counselor, teachers.
that is united and dedicated in a spirit of cooperation toward stopping crime and
violence will greatly hamper a gang's efforts to flourish.
Some youth who join or associate
with gangs DO NOT dress in the traditional gang clothes and DO NOT exhibit conspicuous
behavior that indicates gang involvement. Continual behavior and communication
interaction between parents and youth is imperative as a means to prevent gang membership.
- Take elementary students to college/high
school games to promote interest in sports.
- Host gang-free parties (kids
can't go outside until they are ready to leave.)
- Promote Neighborhood Nite Out
- Promote family activities.
Promoting safe schools is everyone's
- Ensure that firearms and other
dangerous weapons at home are inaccessible. Lock them up!
- Talk with your children about
the consequences of using weapons and violence.
- Participate in neighborhood patrols
before, during, and after school.
- Report suspicious individuals
or unusual activity around the campus.
- Learn and teach personal safety
- Ensure implementation of a conflict
- Encourage the formation of a
professionally-supervised peer-counseling and peer-mediation program.