What Can We Do To Prevent Violence In Schools?
School violence has become a serious issue in America. What used to be simple rule-bending among students have turned into highly alarming events, such as grave threats, hitting, and even shooting. Not only do they affect the kind of education students get, they also cause tragic results. More American youths between the ages 15 to 24 die due to violence than any other cause.
It is then imperative that violence in schools be stopped before the effects become worse.
The common anti-violence schemes used in American schools are mostly traditional preventive measures. First is the student conduct or discipline code. This is essentially a guide for students on how they are supposed to act within the campus; thus, it is basically just a document. To realize the power of a discipline code, most schools implement a punishment system. This system would include reprimands, detention, suspension, and even expulsion of students who break the rules in the code.
These schemes have become so common that, in a way, the youth seems to have become 'immune' to them. As the times change, the rule-breaking becomes more deeply aggressive, and so, school administrations are starting to explore new ways to address this problem.
There are three basic categories of methods that a school can adopt to prevent violence. First are management-based methods, which rely on actions and projects from administrators. Second are environmental adjustment methods, which modify the campus' environment to make it safer. Then there are education-based methods, which are about information and formation.
Management-based methods are common yet effective if implemented well. For example, a universal yet helpful way is to provide open counseling services to students. Many of the established causes of violent behavior among young people are the emotional struggles they undergo, such as family crises and social discrimination. By providing a means for emotional and psychological healing, the problem of violence is nipped at the bud.
Another method adopted by various schools is creating and maintaining linkages to the homes of students. The basic form of this is the Parent-Teacher Association, where school administrators discuss issues with the students' parents or legal guardians. Like counseling, home-school links are also a way to help improve the behavior of students.
While counseling and home-school linkages both fall under how a school manages student behavior, there are also methods that aim to improve the environment in which students act and interact with each other.
For example, a number of schools now adopt electronic security with the use of surveillance cameras and weapon detectors. Less daunting methods, such as the use of electronic identification for entrances and transactions, are also viable.
Lastly, the education-based methods are deemed least solid, but if executed right, they can be highly effective. Information and formation go beyond flyers and posters. Good education-based anti-violence measures let students understand that they have options, whether in how they handle their problems, in how they interact with each other, or in getting help when they feel abused.
These methods also go beyond the studentry - they ideally involve parents as well. Beyond the PTA discussions and updates, a better scheme is parenting training. This project does not have to overlap or conflict with the preferred parenting style of every mother or father. Instead, it complements it with solid concepts based on what administrators have found in the students' general temperament and behavior.
All of these methods can be helpful, but their effectiveness still depends on the school itself. In the end, a school's sincere care for its students is the best antidote to the issue of school violence. With sincere care, a better school community will surely be possible.