In the last 20 years, American public schools have witnessed a drastic increase in the level and severity of school violence. Incidents such as those that took place in Columbine have become more prevalent in schools all across the country. When it comes to school violence, no population or community is immune. Although most educational leaders have taken broad steps to reduce the threat that this violence poses to the student body—such as increasing campus security and installing metal detectors—few administrators and educators have addressed the specific issues that perpetuate the precipitation of violence in the school. For instance, investigators examining the Columbine incident have noted that the individuals behind the crime were bullied by many of the students that they wantonly killed. With this in mind, one cannot help but wonder if the Columbine massacre would have occurred had educators and administrators dealt with the issue of bullying, rather than letting this situation fester.
[...] Although the historical development of school violence has ignored the role that educators play in preventing the onset of this phenomenon, social and philosophical research on the subject suggest that educators cannot be removed from the process. School violence, in many cases, is a manifestation of the larger issues that are impacting the child in the school environment. While there is some evidence to suggest that these issues can be exacerbated by extrinsic issues impacting the child outside of the school, the reality is that the school can no longer be considered a shelter for students against the outside world. [...]
[...] As a direct result of this practice, educators have witnessed a significant delay in the development of tools that can be used to help reduce the root causes of school violence and improve the basic context of the school environment. The specific issues that have been raised in the context of the historical evolution of school violence have created a certain milieu when it comes to the manner in which school violence is addressed by educators and schools. Furlong and Morrison, in their examination of this issue, make the following observations: It is from this perspective that school violence can be understood as a catchall term that has little precision from an empirical-scientific point of view. [...]
[...] Using research on the development of antisocial behavior in adults, researchers exploring the philosophical development of school violence have been able to link the development of violence in schools to the evolution of antisocial behavior that occurs when problems such as bullying and sexual harassment take place in the school. Examining the issue of bullying in schools Bulach, Fulbright and Williams (2003) note that this form of social ridicule is one of the most significant predictors of school violence. Interestingly, however, these authors are quick to note that physical bullying is often not a key issue for the development of school violence. [...]
[...] In the end, it is evident that there are a number of barriers that exist when it comes to fully addressing the issue of bullying in the school. Many teachers believe that some degree of bullying is acceptable, a right of passage. Many victims of bullying are not given the support that they need to stop their attackers. Until educators and administrators begin to fully recognize the definitive link between bullying and school violence, there is little chance that this issue will be addressed in a preventative manner. [...]
[...] In short, the school must work with the bully or bullies to resolve the problem and repair the harm that has been caused as a direct result of bullying behavior. Further examining the steps that can be taken by educators and administrator to address the issue of bullying in the school, Reid, Monsen and Rivers (2004) support many of the recommendations made by Limper. These authors argue that when there are no programs in place to deal with bullying the school and/or classroom, students and teachers become blind to the issue. [...]
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