Violence in schools is becoming a major challenge for school administrators and policymakers. This has created a need to come with policies that address the problem by providing sustainable solutions that will not compromise learning but address the challenge efficiently. One significant step to resolving violence in school is understanding the causes of the problem and the factors that motivate students to comit acts of violence in schools.
According to Eisenbraun (2007), school violence has evolved from minor misbehavior acts like making noise to drug abuse, weapons possessions and gang membership that are directly linked to the increased cases of violence in school. Eisenbraun further notes that student behavior plays a significant role in promoting violent behavior in school. Other factors include the disciplinary systems set by the school and feelings of fear and insecurity.
Hudson et al (2005) identifies some notable incidences of school violence like the tragedy at the Columbine high school and shootings in Santana high school in California. These incidences demonstrate the dangers of violence in schools and the security risk millions of school children will continue to be exposed to if the problem is not resolved.
Mayor (2005) argues that school violence cases are highest in secondary schools due to the influence of drugs, gambling and gangs. There is, therefore, to promote health in schools as an intervention or prevention measure on violence in schools. Promoting healthy lifestyles will discourage the youths from abusing drugs, which are directly related to acts of violence in schools (Eisenbraun2007).
Another measure of preventing violence in schools includes involving thecommunity and utilizing community resources. If properly utilized, the community can serve as an efficient tool of promoting healthy lifestyles in school-going persons through the constant monitoring and counseling of youths involved in drug abuse (Mayor, 2005). Involving the community makes it easy for law enforcers to control the problem of drug use, which is one of the significant factors that promote school violence.
In addition to the community, families are also critical in the effort to reduce violence in schools. Hudson et al, (2005) evaluated the role played by family unites in controlling school violence. Families can play a role in controlling behavioral problems in their youth through counseling and teaching excellent time management skills to avoid idleness which encourages the youth to participate in risky behaviors.
Hudson also states that children are more likely to become victims of violence in schools. Miller et al (2000), notes that cases of children at a higher risk should be considered in prevention measures against school violence to ensure their safety. According to Miller et al (2005), children from minority groups are more likely to become victims of violence in school when compared to others. This emphasizes the strict need for such high-risk children to be given priority in anti violence programs implemented in schools.
Webster Stratton & Reid (2011) relates the development theories on oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder influence to the chances of a child getting involved in violent acts and juvenile crime. Such students have ahigh changes of perpetrating violence in schools and should be included in antiviolence programs.
Several risk factors contribute to the likelihood of children involved in school violence. These include family risk factors like bad parenting and low monitoring. Other include peer Influences which are directed towards criminal behavior, especially for adolescents. Others include biological factors like the hyperactivity disorders and oppositional or defiant disorder.
School factors that and promote acts of violence in schools include poor classroom or school environment, strained teacher-student relationship, and student relationships. Community factors that promote violence in schools include gangs, the influence of drug, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency (Webster Stratton & Reid 2011). Indentifying these risk factors is important in indentifying effective solutions to address cases of violence in schools.
Since all these factors contribute to acts of violence in schools, Webster Stratton & Reid (2011) suggests that they can be addressed at each level to ensure that they work effectively. For instance, family risk factors can be resolved at the family level and community risk factors resolved at the community level. Similarly, school based factors can beresolved at the school level. This combined approach will ensure the problem of school violence is resolved from all directions and chances of overcoming it are high.
Kim et. al. (2010) highlighted the fact that majority of the serious acts of violence acts by youths are committed by gang members. Although the gang population contains a small percentage of the youthful population, their influence is wide especially in influencing school going children to join their criminal activities and extend their acts of violence to schools. Therefore, to reduce violence in schools, Kim et al (2010) suggested the elimination of criminal gangs by law enforcers. This is to minimize the number of school-going youth influenced by their actions to commit violence in schools.
Preventing violence in schools requires wide measures, which include implementing anti-bullying programs to reduce the feelings of fear and insecurity. Ferguson et al, (2007) argues that bullying and other violent behaviors play a role in promoting violence in schools. This therefore creates need to implement anti-bullying programs in schools, which include strict penalties , counseling the students who commit bullying acts, and also involving their parent s and guardians in resolving such indiscipline as a way of combating acts of violence in schools (Aceves, 2010)
Aceves, M. J., Hinshaw, S. P., Mendoza-Denton, R., & Page-Gould, E. (2010). Seek help from teachers or fight back? Student perceptions of teachers’ actions during conflicts and responses to peer victimization.Journal of youth and adolescence, 39(6), 658-669.
Alcaraz, R., Kim, T., & Wolbeck, E. (2002). School violence. Fact Sheet. Southern California Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention, University of California Riverside.
Eisenbraun, K. D. (2007). Violence in schools: Prevalence, prediction, and prevention. Aggression and violent behavior, 12(4), 459-469.
Ferguson, C. J., San Miguel, C., Kilburn, J. C., & Sanchez, P. (2007). The effectiveness of school-based anti-bullying programs a meta-analytic review. Criminal Justice Review, 32(4), 401-414.
Hudson, P. E., Windham, R. C., & Hooper, L. M. (2005). Characteristics of school violence and the value of family-school therapeutic alliances. Journal of School Violence, 4(2), 133-146.
Meyer, A. G. (2005). School violence in secondary schools: Guidelines for the establishment of Health Promoting Schools (Doctoral dissertation, North-West University).
Miller, T. W., Clayton, R., Miller, J. M., Bilyeu, J., Hunter, J., & Kraus, R. F. (2000). Violence in the schools: clinical issues and case analysis for high-risk children. Child psychiatry and human development, 30(4), 255-272.
WeBsTer-sTraTTon, C. H., & Reid, M. J. (2011). The Incredible Years Program for children from infancy to pre-adolescence: Prevention and treatment of behavior problems. In Clinical handbook of assessing and treating conduct problems in youth (pp. 117-138). Springer New York.