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School Violence is Serious Concern

School violence is a severe issue of society and it is mainly related to youth violence. Youth violence is explained as the intentional use of physical force or power, which is likely to cause physical or psychological harm, by a person aged between 10 and 24 against another person, group, or public.

It has been realized that Violence is a delicate issue that aggravates anxiety. It is a normal human reaction to avoid disagreeable and throbbing experiences, but in real situation, violence is increasing in society and schools with a shocking impact on global society. United States of America is facing a terrible situation as people of the country are interweaving into more school violence day by day.

News reports indicated that the most monstrous and conspicuous act of school violence happened in the year 1999 at the Columbine High School in the state of Colorado in the United States of America where two mild affected less aggressive students started killing the people who were responsible in making their school life depressed.

Violence at school put more financial burden to schools. It also damages school's physical property that have long-term effects. It inflicts on the individual's healthy personality growth, the loss of his and her quality of life, its interference with the individual's learning of pro-social behaviours, and its impact on the vital task of developing human resources for national progress. Many researchers consider that aggression is a natural and temporary phenomenon of child and teenage development, which most children and youngsters must go through and, furthermore children and adolescents become violent for fun and will eventually disappear as the young people grow older and sensible.

Various forms of school violence include bullying and fighting, including all kinds of physical aggression, along with the use of weapons, and gang violence. School violence may happen anywhere on school property or on the way to or from school. It may also occur at events organized by a school. Sufferers of school violence may get serious physical injury or psychological damage. Some incidents may cause causalities.

The Dominant Causes of Violence

Major reasons for school violence refer to economic, familial, school and societal factors.

A. Economic factors that lead to school violence are economic and social exclusion, poverty, inequitable educational and job opportunities; jobless youths ; insufficient educational expenditure ; under-equipped and overcrowded classrooms ; shortage of school counsellors ; lack of means to transport students to school on time; and poor living conditions.

B. Family related factors responsible for school violence are lack of satisfactory parental supervision and child-rearing practices, punitive parents with unclear disciplinary orientation, break-up of the family, lack of family values with good moral and religious guidelines.

C. School factors that lead to school violence are point to poor school performance, existing violent incidents and aggressive behaviour models in schools; aggressive and destructive peer relations, unmanageable class-sizes, predetermined and inflexible curricula irrelevant to the interests and needs of pupils, poor pupil/teacher relationships, teacher's punitive attitudes, e.g. banishing students from the classroom, the public humiliation of repeaters and dropouts.

D. Societal and political factors that causes school violence are political violence associated with wars and armed conflicts, the media's indiscriminate violent and anti-social programmes, street gangs who disturb schools, and steal and damage school property, alcohol and drug abuse.

E. Individual factors that instigate school violence are motives for power, cruelty and curiosity. It is documented that such individual factors as personality problems, aggressive attitudes, poor human communication skills which are often cited as the causal factors of violence by studies in the developed countries, do not attract the attention of researchers in the developed countries.

It can be said that the causes for youth violence and school violence are complex and often difficult to understand. A violent behaviour can follow a pattern. For example, young people who experience domestic violence are likely to turn into lawbreakers themselves. Sometimes violence is committed by a victim as a reaction to intimidation or other forms of aggression he or she had suffered.

Consequences of school violence have been reported in the present series of studies

1.Innocent children joining gangs.

2.Increased corporal punishment by parents and teachers.

3.Disrupted family relationships.

4.Development of fear and insecurity in children.

5.Development of the false idea that violence is a viable means to solve conflicts.

6.Weakening of school discipline and breakdown of school rules and regulations.

7.Changing schools by pupils, dropping out of school and absenteeism

8.Moving away from the home.

9.Extended violence to teachers and headmasters.

10.Destruction in schools, causing enormous financial loss.

11.Disruption of the teaching/learning process.

12.Endangering school management.

13.Creating negative pupil/pupil and teacher/pupil relationships and interactions.

14.Creating group conflicts.

15.Transferring acts of violence to local communities and families.

16.Facilitating punitive disciplinary measures.

17.Wasting the normal working hours of teachers, principals and other school personnel.

18.Predisposing young people to grow into adolescent juvenile delinquents and adult criminals.

19.Physical injury and death, and detrimental psychological damage to pupils.

20.Girls tend to be the main victims of all types of violence, including rape, at school.

21.Violence is a contributor to premature death, disability and injury.

Statistical figures provided by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2005 and 2006, indicated that at least one incident of school violence was reported by 38 percent of public schools. In 2007, 23 percent of pupils recounted gangs at their schools. During 2003 to 2004, 10 percent of teachers in city schools said they were threatened by pupils, the rate was 6 percent by teachers in suburban schools, 5 percent in rural schools.

Such figures signify that school violence is a serious issue at global scale. Exposure to violence can cause various mental disorders among young people, including depression and anxiety. Survey reports of the United States found that 5.5 percent of high school students skipped school for at least one of the 30 days preceding the poll due to fear of someone at school or on the way to and from school. The results of another U.S. poll presented that a total 160,000 students leave school early as they fear being bullied.

Risk factors

Individual risk factors include a person's history of early aggression or victimization. The use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco is also deliberated a risk factor, along with the low IQ and the poor behavioural control. Discrepancies in social cognitive or information-processing abilities and high emotional stress may also increase the likelihood for a youngster to become violent. Other individual risk factors comprise a person's history of treatment of emotional problems, antisocial beliefs and the exposure to violence and conflicts in the family.

Other risk factors for school violence among teenagers are strict, negligent or inconsistent disciplinary practices and authoritarian attitudes in the family. Family risk factors for school violence also include parental low participation, abuse or criminal activity, low emotional affection to parents and poor family functioning. Low parent education and income and poor monitoring on children can also increase the probability for youth violence.

Community risk factors are determined by the economic growth, concentration of poor residents and the level of transiency and family disturbance. The low levels of community participation and socially disorganized neighbourhoods are also risks of the community environment.

Prevention of school violence

It has been fully understood by psychologists and researchers that Violence among youth, especially in schools, is most persistent alarms in global society.

School security : General school security measure is to monitor students when they move through the hallways and in places where they assemble, such as restrooms and the cafeteria. School staff members have traditionally served as monitors, but currently school authorities recruit security guards to patrol the building and to offer security at various events. In the most violence-prone areas, schools may form partnerships with the police to visit intermittently. Though, several psychologist and educators do not appreciate this form of behaviours of school authority because police presence may have detrimental impact on teaching and learning and it is also an indication of administrative failure. But other group of educationalists appreciate police support but they must be trained to deal with students in a school environment.

Some schools involve parents to monitor and assist teacher. Such action can be cheap and effective preventive method to control school violence, since students may be more unenthusiastic to behave badly when watched by neighbourhood people.

It is also recommended by security experts that schools must arrange metal detector to check all students so that they cannot bring any weapons in school premises. It is well recognized that there is a strong relationship between student violence and use and sale of drugs, therefore administrators must make special efforts to keep schools drug-free, through both education crusades and search operations.

Teacher involvement : Teacher's involvement may help to prevent school violence. Regular meetings about violence issues must be held to dissipate fears and help teachers feel supported. The main role of administrators is to give accurate information about violent occurrences and reactions to them, involve faculty members in prevention efforts, and listen to their concerns. Teachers' participation can be vital, since it is common for them to have information about the threat of violence before administrators do, and to have suggestions for how to deal with it based on personal knowledge of the students.

Training must be given to school staff for violence prevention such as school bus drivers, as well as teachers. It can keep the school safer and help staff feel more secure. Programs can include development of the capability to identify students at risk of anti-social behaviour for preventive intervention, to identify and diffuse potential violence, and to deal safely with violence if explode. Since at-risk students respond positively to personal attention, teachers can help youth fight violent impulses and the temptation of drugs and gangs by giving extra help with their schoolwork, referrals, informal counselling.

Prevention programs

Anti-violence :To curb school violence, it is imperative to do early intervention. Elementary education training in anger management, impulse control, appreciation of diversity, and mediation and conflict resolution skills can help prevent youth violence. Early dialogs about the negative magnitudes of gang membership, and providing children with positive ways of getting personal needs met, can guard them from future gang enrolment efforts. Teachers and psychologists must educate young children about the danger of using weapons.

There is need to offer age-appropriate training in self-esteem development and stress management and reduction, especially for students who live in poverty. It can help to change the mind of students who have negative feelings and they will develop positive coping skills. Other types of training, introduced to students at later developmental stages include development of refusal skills to help youth resist using substances and involve in sexual activity.

Other programs take a positive approach to violence prevention by providing incentives for good behaviour, such as a recognition and reward system for good school citizenship. Main aim of these rewards is to bring about a change in the students and school climate.

Anti-gang : Effective anti-gang strategies involve all school operations and staff. They must develop a positive school climate, good communications and security, staff trained in crisis intervention, and harmonised effort. They also require that schools recognize a gang presence and student's activities are closely monitored.

Prevention of school violence is critical and this problem needs thorough investigation by researchers. It is imperative to appraise the number and frequency of violent acts and the damages and deaths they have caused. It can help figure out certain trends. Once risk factors for school violence have been recognized, the corresponding authorities should develop test prevention strategies and ultimately provide for their implementation.

It is appraised that school violence is pressing issue for educators, researchers and psychologists. It is a global concern that intimidate parent, teachers and whole social structure. There are numerous causes of school violence like ignorance of teacher, family disturbance or personal reason of students. While the reality of violence may be hard and throbbing, its prevention must become integral part of the educational public strategy agenda in all countries. School violence has a harmful impact on learning and instruction in both developing and developed countries.

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