Major School Violence Incidents
The United States Department of Education statistics from the 2007/2008 school year show promise that the efforts to raise awareness and eradicate violence in schools have been successful. Major school violence incidents are down to numbers considerably lower than they have been in the past 15 years. Experts attribute this success in the decline of major school violence incidents to teachers, administrators, and school systems utilizing a zero tolerance policy that clearly defines acts like bullying and disciplines students quickly.
According to the U.S Department of Justice and the National Centers for Education Statistics, the only area where improvement in major school violence has not improved is in the area of kids bringing weapons to school. These numbers have remained consistent for over decade, indicating that around 105 of kids (especially in middle school) either purposely or inadvertently bring a weapon to school grounds. Teacher resources for recognizing signs of heated situations among students and more specifically between ethnic groups seem to be a target way for school systems to reduce major school violence incidents. While the numbers of major school violent acts, there is still a sense of fear felt by many students. The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a crime victimization survey in major school systems across the United States from 1995 to 2007. In 1995, as many as 255 of students felt threatened during the school day.
While these number levels to off in 1999 at 15%, they have remained stagnant since then. The most vulnerable ethnic group to feeling victimized by violent acts were Hispanics, followed closely by blacks. These numbers have forced many school systems to offer teacher resources and lesson plans about tolerance and racism in order to raise awareness for students. Of these students who felt fearful during school, half were involved in major school violence incidents that involved fighting, weapons possession or threatening acts.
The most horrific major act of school violence is definitely murder. The incidents at Columbine high school definitely shed new light on the possibility of students being killed on school grounds. Highly aggressive campaigns by the U.S. Department of Education were quick to implement programs, resources, awareness lesson plans, teacher worksheets, and student awareness rubrics to the classroom in efforts to completely eradicate the possibility of murder in US schools. In 2009, only one homicide on school grounds was reported which was an all time low according to statistics over the past 15 years.
Major school violence incidents are definitely on the decline. Much of the recognition can be placed on school administrators and teachers who are involved with organizations to curb school violence and proactive continued learning seminars in regard to violence at schools. Teachers need to remain aware to take threats to students serious and disciplinary action should be swift and involve parental intervention and responsibility for students that are continuous problems or who show a tendency to engage in violence. Many school districts expel students for any act of major violence incidents utilizing the language of the no tolerance policies. In order for policies to prevent violence to be effective, teachers, students, parents and administrators must have enforceable policies in place.
More Resources On Major Incidents of School Violence
- A Timeline of Recent School Shootings.
- Columbine Research Task Force (CRTF)
- The Killer at Thurston High
- Patterns of School Shootings