Education is the key determinant of development in any country in the contemporary world. Human capital development plays an important role in the overall development of any country. Schools have a common mission of providing students with developmentally appropriate education which emphasize high academic performance in addition to the student becoming socially responsible. In the long run, education is aimed to earn the students skills and knowledge that encourage them to be productive, responsible citizens in the dynamic global society.
The government and teachers have a common vision in supporting education programs and students. The vision of teachers is to produce citizens who will participate productively and responsibly in a rapidly changing society through using problem solving techniques to handle everyday challenges, communicating effectively, respect of self, others and environment in which they are working in. School leaders encounter a multitude of critical issues while carrying out their day to day responsibilities and this pose a challenge in the realization of the vision and mission set by the school.
The challenges experienced in most American schools include school violence, low performance due to introduction of bilingual system of education among other challenges. This paper will discuss challenges that are facing school leaders today as a result of school violence. This paper will identify several causes of school violence and the appropriate measures taken to curb the problem. What is the issue and why is it critical for schools/school leaders? School violence has affected the academic performance in schools and therefore the problem must be addressed to realize improved performance.
Population is growing rapidly as indicated by the high number of students in public schools as compared to educators. Leadership in schools is been blamed for the continued increase of the school violence problem. However, discipline management in schools especially public schools has become difficult due to the high ratio of students to teachers. It becomes to do individual student follow-up. Most educators have also fallen victims of school violence and therefore some have been silenced due to improper organizational structure to govern student behavior.
Students have been noted to riot while educators are in class and this raised alarm over student behavior management. School leaders experience a problem in controlling school violence due to inadequate support from parents’ especially those who argue that their kids must carry weapons to school for self defense due to increased insecurity in schools. Literature Review Many researches on school violence indicate varied results as to the causes of the social dysfunction.
Forensic psychologists who study criminal behavior argue that school killers are very different from other violent youth, such as gang members or drug dealers. The school killers usually experience inferiority complex by feeling powerless and therefore become obsessed with killing or injuring others. The school killers hence direct their threats to those that threaten them or taunt them. Social loafing has been argued to increase incidences of violence in schools. Some quiet decent students become violent when in a group during a school riot or mob justice incidence.
Students engage in mob justice when confronting people who attack those using guns as a defense mechanism. School viol4ence continues to create an on going challenge to the nation’s educational environment. To address the problem of school violence in the United States, it demands collaboration among educators, students, parents and social service organizations in analyzing the problems that are facing the student community, their causes and effect of the school violence. The stakeholders should then jointly find lasting solutions.
Research indicates that children look for caring adults’ up to adolescence who can share with them about the critical issues facing them. Freud, a psychoanalyst theorist argues that early life experiences where children are exposed to violence at home and community around them may have a deepening effect which pushes them to violence. Criminologists, physiatrists, counselors have put the blame on the media for providing a steady diet of movies where violence is glorified and on the evolution of single parent homes.
Kids who watch violent movies usually perceive violence as fun and adventurous. Moynihan in his article “Deviancy Go Down” argues that kids from single parents are more likely to engage in robbery with violence, rape and other social disorders because in most cases the single parent is financially unstable and therefore the kids look for alternative ways to achieve the socially approved goals. Lack of respects and accountability at homes has contributed to lack of respect for the law.
Survey indicates that it’s common for police in the U. S. to encounter kids between ages 7 and 8 who disrespect law (Dewey, 2006). Research indicates that inequalities in the education system has contributed top the problem of increased school violence. Discrimination of some cultures, races has also led to higher levels school violence among the African-Americans who perceive that the education system disfavors them. The socio-economic disparity between Whites and blacks create rivalry between Whites and blacks.
The black kids perceive that their White counterparts are being favored because of their color and social status. Research indicates that most cases of school violence go without report and it’s on the rampant rise. Physical violence at homes, appraisal of violence movies and bullying are identifies as major contributors of violence in American schools. What does the research say about this issue? School violence has become a social problem not only in the United States but also in Australia and England.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a survey in American schools in 2003 and reported that 5% of students between ages 12 and 18 have been involved in nonfatal crimes, 4% in theft crimes while 1% of the student population had been reported as victims of violent crimes. The rate of school violence is reported to be higher in public than in private schools as indicated by the ratio of 7: 5 percent (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). A national survey indicated that rural students had a high probability to be bullied in school than their urban and suburban counterparts.
This is mainly because the rural students are generally considered to be innocent and highly regard social unity and harmony, due to difference in socialization from urban and suburban counterparts. Socialization is the process by which beliefs, norms and culture are passed from generation to generation. There are two types of socialization which include primary and secondary socialization. Primary socialization usually takes place at tender age, that is, up to 6 years.
The children learn through imitation of family members, relatives and neighbors who are close to the kid. It lays a foundation for the secondary socialization. Secondary socialization agents are mainly teachers, peers and media. A national survey undertaken in 1999 among high school students indicated that 7% of students carried a weapon to school in the last month, 14% said they had been involved in a physical fight in the school premises in the past year while 5% of the students had misses school at least once in the past month because they felt unsafe in school.
1999-2001 national survey undertaken by National Center for Education Statistics indicated that 20% of all public schools experienced one or more serious crimes such as rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assaults (Henry, 2000; National Center for Education Statistics, 2003; Dewey, 2006). Public schools in particular reported 71% incidences of violence and 46% of theft. Violence in schools is on the rise worldwide. However, it’s hardly reported until a kid picks a gun and slaughters another. A nationwide study undertaken by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control on violent deaths in U.
S schools indicated that 77% of the school deaths were done using guns while 17% were done using knives. A study conducted between July1, 1992 and June 30, 1999 indicated that out of 323 school-associated violent death events were mainly carried by firearms obtained from the perpetrators’ homes or from friends and relatives (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003; Dewey, 2006). National Center for Education Statistics national study in 2003 indicates that male students are more likely to fall victims of school violence than their female counterparts (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003).
17% of high school girls have been reported to be abused physically while 12% of high school girls are sexually abused (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2003). Survey carried out by Justice Department in U. S in 1992 indicated a remarkable decrease in violent crime victimitization at school between 1992 and 2001 from 4. 89% in 1992 to 2. 8% in 2001. A study on school crime and safety in 2003 indicated that from 1997-2001, teachers were victims of approximately 1.
3 million nonfatal crimes at schools including 817,000 thefts and 473,000 violent crimes such as rape or sexual assault and aggravated or simple assault(Department of Education and United States Department of Justice, 2003; Dewey, 2006). School violence has become a major concern among many individuals worldwide. School violence not only affects students but teachers too. School violence has contributed to 57% deaths that occur in schools (Dewey, 2006). Exposure to violence to kids at tender age has been argued to contribute greatly to the kid been violent at school.
School violence has become a determinant factor in the performance of schools. Most students fail to go to school at least once in a month for fear of being physically assaulted in school. Availability of guns in most American states has contributed greatly to the violent incidences in schools. Teachers have declared school violence as a monster affecting performance in schools. Public schools which usually have a high population of students experience the problem of school viol3nce more than private schools. This may be contributed by the high ratio of students to teachers in public schools.
Some parents too have contributed to the problem of school violence because they forbid teachers to discipline their kids when they misbehave. Have Others Addressed the Issue School violence has become a significant social problem that affect the security of most schools worldwide. Various institutions and organizations have proposed solutions to solve the social problem in schools. Some propose a solution by encouraging students to engage in mob justice against those students or individuals that use guns in school. Some educators too carry guns as self defense mechanism. This has resulted in more harm than good.
Most states in America have approved that educators should discipline students who are caught in engaging in violence. Some states have established juvenile delinquency rehabilitation centers where violent students are taken so as to reform. However, the centers have become overcrowded and this has reduced the effectiveness of the solution. Findings and Conclusion The problem of school violence is increasingly becoming rampant especially in the last 15 years. Research indicates that the problem can only be solved if and only if there is collaboration between educators, parents, students and social service organizations.
Neglect of kids by parents especially due to commitment to jobs has deprived the kids’ parental guidance in handling everyday challenges and thus they follow their peers and mass media advices which in most times are incorrect (Edwin, 2004). Youth violence has increased significantly in the U. S over the last 15 years. Homicide has become the second leading cause of deaths for persons between ages 15 and 24 and the leading cause of death for African-Americans in this age group (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003).
However, most cases are never reported in the national data so the magnitude of the problem is always underestimated. National level data indicates that middle and high schools especially larger schools are at high risk for serious violence. The problem arises from the difficult in administration of discipline among the students who are usually too many for the school leaders or educators to handle. Research indicates that male students are more likely to be victims of school violence than their female counterparts. Therefore male students are more violent that female students (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003).
The government should acknowledge that school violence has become a major social problem in the contemporary times and therefore direct more resources towards control of school violence. Emerging Consensus about ways to solve the Issue Physiatrists, counselors and criminologists have agreed that the problem of school violence can be solved if a policy which regulates programs in the mass media is passed. The policy should also regulate what tapes; video compact disks (VCDs) are released to the market. This will ensure that young adults are not exposed to violent scenarios or movies that may trigger them to do the same.
The problem cannot be solved by one party and therefore it has been agreed that collaboration between educators, parents, students and social service organizations and other stakeholders can bring lasting solution if the stakeholders analyze the problems facing the student community, their causes and effect of school violence and then eventually generate lasting solutions to the root problems. It has been proposed that students should be involved in community development projects like cleans-ups, destitute children visitation, planting of trees among other projects.
This will enhance teamwork skills and promote communication skills. This will help reduce conflict among students and consequently reduce school violence (Walker, 1995). Proposed Solutions/Recommendation Management of school violence causes will help to promote discipline and consequently high performance in academics. Several solutions have been proposed to reduce school violence cases in the American schools. The major solution involves dialogue between parents, teachers, students, social service organizations and other stakeholders on the problems facing students, their causes and effects of school violence.
The stakeholders can then communally focus on finding solutions (Edwin, 2004). School should intensify security through employment of personnel that have metal detectors to ensure that no student enters the school compound with any metallic weapon like a gun which have become common weapons in the recent years. The government should install surveillance cameras within the school compound to keep track of the behavior of students. This can help reduce the incidences if school violence for fear of being caught through images taken by the cameras. This therefore enhances conformity to rules and regulations governing students.
The government should finance schools to collaborate with bomb-sniffing dogs to avoid the recent trends where the Islamic students enter with bomb in their bodies and while in company of other students explode themselves (Walker, 1995). Building or enhancing student-staff relationship help reduce incidences of school violence like theft, aggravated assault and simple assault. Teachers should be encouraged to respect students in their dialogue and behavior and this will help reduce school violence which erupts as a result of inferiority complex by some students. Schools should have a referral system for neglected and abused kids.
The neglected and abused kids usually experience inferiority complex and therefore develop an urge to kill or harm the people that abuse them. When separated the threat is eliminated and consequently harmony is restored (Walker, 1995). Educators and policy makers (Edwin, 2004)should involve students in future planning to avoid conflicts that arise from new laws and policies which students perceive to be undermining or threatening and therefore riot. Most riots can be avoided through dialogue to ascertain whether the proposed policies or laws are ideal and just.
Educators should emphasize on academic excellence and this will encourage students to focus their energies towards academics. Educators should support students to excel through guidance and counseling in areas of deficiency and support through tuition so as to keep the students busy and focused on academics. The community should involve students in community development projects, for example, visitation of the elderly, hospital clean-up, city clean-up activities and mountain climbing to instill the participation motivation. Such activities enhance teamwork skills and this help reduce conflict that yield school violence (Walker, 1995).
Summary School violence (Edwin, 2004) is a social problem which has become common in most schools worldwide. School violence has continued to increase in the last 15 years as indicated by the high school deaths in the last 15 years. School violence can only decrease if the educators, parents and students agree to do their part effectively. School violence has been contributed by various factors, for example, childhood experiences, media, neglect of kids by parents, bullying by other students and exposure to violence in the community among other factors.
Surveys indicate that male students are more prone to violence than their female counterparts. Incidences of school violence (Edwin, 2004) are more in public schools than in private schools. This is said to be contributed by the high number of students in public schools who pose a challenge in discipline management. The problem of school violence has attracted many debates in most states. Leaders especially in public schools are appealing to parents, students and social service organizations to come together to analyze the problems facing the students, their causes and effects of school violence so as to communally find lasting solutions.
. References Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2003). “Source of Firearms used by Students in school-Associated Violent Deaths. United States, 1992-1999. ” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Edwin, G. R. (2004). Handbook of School Violence. Education New York: Routledge. U. S. Department of Education and U. S. Department of Justice, (2003). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2003. Dewey, G. C. (2006). School Violence: Fears versus Facts. Psychology. California: California University Press.
Henry, S. (2000). What is School Violence? An Integrated Definition. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Problems, 3(2): 11-132. National Center for Education Statistics, (2003). National Data of School Violence in The United States in 1992-2001. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (2003). The Formative Years: Pathways to Substance Abuse. Walker, H. M. (1995). Antisocial Behavior in School: Strategies and Best Practices. New York: Cole Publishing Company.
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