From bullying to gang activity, many types of violence and crime occur in schools. Fortunately, many organizations and educational experts have studied violence in schools and formulated strategies for identifying potential perpetrators and victims. In addition, many school sites bombarded by violence have instituted programs and services directed to the school population and their families with the aim of preventing violence.
Signs of School Violence
According to the U.S. Department of Education, parents, administrators, teachers and other adults can spot warning signs that someone has been a victim of school violence or that someone may perpetrate school violence. Warning signs include social withdrawal, excessive depression, feelings of rejection, experiencing violence outside of school, feelings of being persecuted, low academic performance, drawing or writing about violence, outbreaks of rage, impulsiveness, chronic hitting, prior discipline problems, past aggressive behavior, racist behavior, drug use, drinking alcohol, gang affiliation, access to weapons, low self-esteem, suicidal behavior, abusing animals and familial issues.
Three types of programs exist for preventing violence. The first type is school management-based programs. They function in the context of the school and consist of options, such as alternative schooling or implementing law enforcement curricula with the academic program. The second type is the environmental modification program. This type changes school infrastructure and programs with objects such as metal detectors or security cameras and changes, such as making classes or schools smaller. The third type is educational programs that teach violence awareness, anger management and other life skills to student populations.
Strategies for Prevention
The National Crime Prevention Council has formulated a list of strategies parents, students, teachers and administrators can employ to reduce incidences of school violence. Among core strategies are training administration in preventing violence, placing law enforcement officers within at-risk schools, scheduling before-school and after-school enrichment programs, issuing identification cards to students and school staff, opening alternative high schools, planning safe and drug-free social events for students, making school zones gun-free zones, and hosting diversity training in schools.
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