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Violence among young people in society is increasing dramatically. Perhaps what is most alarming is that these violent acts are not only occurring on the streets, but in the school systems as well. School violence is defined as any physical or verbal attack on a person while on school grounds or on school property. In earlier decades, school violence merely involved delinquency and the occasional fight. However, school violence has become a problem which has plagued the nation for the past several years. There has been an increase in the amount and the degree of violence. Students are now bringing guns, knives, and other weapons to school, and many are using them to hurt and kill. With incidents such as the shooting rampage in Littleton, Colorado, the public has become increasingly concerned with ways of predicting and reducing violence in the schools. The problem is how to reduce the amount of violence in America's schools. The purpose of this study is to investigate the major factors of school violence, the effects of school violence, and the methods of prevention. The questions that this study attempts to answer are the causes and signs of school violence, the effects on the academic community, and methods of prevention. It is hypothesized that school violence will be caused by exposure to violence in the media. It is also hypothesized that school violence will have detrimental effects on the academic community. Finally it is hypothesized that increased security will reduce violence.
Causes and Signs of Violence in Children
In order to reduce and eventually eliminate school violence in our nation, we must first understand the causes and signs that lead to violence. If we can understand the causes, we can perhaps eliminate these factors from the lives of children. Similarly, if we can recognize the factors that lead to school violence, we can take measures to intervene before violence is imminent. The following are the causes and signs of school violence.
The first step in eliminating the problem of school violence is to understand the factors that cause it (Nemecek, 1998). There are numerous factors that contribute to school violence. Some children may be influenced by only one factor, while other's tendencies to violence may be a result of exposure to several of these factors. The causes of school violence will be described in the following paragraphs.
Parental involvement is an important factor in determining potentially violent behavior. A child often looks to their parents as role models, as well as for moral guidance. (Portman, 1999). Therefore, if the parent tends to behave in an aggressive manner, the child will tend to mimic this behavior. Parents are also responsible for appropriately disciplining their child. If a parent refuses to address their child's aggressive behavior, the child may become violent in nature. Similarly, a parent who abuses and/or neglects their child is possibly contributing to the spread of violence in schools (Futrell & Powell, 1996). Joseph Guiliano states that youths who live in families where violence is common are at the greatest risk for comingging violence (Guiliano, 1994). The American Psychological Association (APA), claims that family characteristics such as criminal history of the parent, rejection of the child, physical or emotional abuse, or lack of parental supervision are the "strongest predictors" in the potential for violent behavior (Blankenstein, et al., 1995). Therefore, parents need to be aware of the behavior they display in front of their children.
Mass media plays a tremendous role in the amount of school violence. One study states that fifty-five percent of teachers blame exposure to violence in the media as one of the main reasons that children become violent (Futrell & Powell, 1996). Members of Congress seem to agree with these teachers. Congress credits the presence of violence in electronics and media as a major cause for school violence (Snowe, 1999). Children in American are exposed to a tremendous amount of violence from radio, television, movies, video games, and even the World Wide Web. By the time that the average American child reaches the age of eighteen they will have viewed over two hundred thousand acts of violence on television alone. (Snowe, 1999). For some children, this overexposure to violence causes them to behave in an aggressive and violent manner. The APA also criticizes the media for their display of violence in children's programming. Increased aggressive behavior and "aggressive attitudes" are directly linked to increased levels of viewing violence on television (Blankstein, et al., 1995). The American Psychological Association also argues that being exposed to large amounts of violence desensitizes a child against aggressive behavior. (Blankstein, et al, 1995). A child's insensitivity to violent acts increases the likeliho
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mass media, Metal,
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Riley & Reno, Snowe, Angell, Nemecek, Blankstein, Joseph Guiliano, Mendler, Powell, Walker, Morrison, Portman, Blankenstein, Cohn, Coffey, Agron, Chatterjee, Walter, Watson, Rotundo,
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Columbine High School, American Psychological Association, Congress, National Crime Prevention Council,
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America, Littleton, Colorado, United States, Chicago, Detroit, Miami,
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