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The development and implications of violence in schools

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  1. Introduction
  2. School Violence?Historical Perspective
  3. School Violence?Social Perspective
  4. School Violence?Philosophical Foundations
  5. Discussion
  6. Benefits of Reducing Bullying
  7. Conclusion

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. [...]

[...] At the present time, Bulach, Fulbright and Williams argue that while many schools have implemented programs that seek to reduce school violence, the reality of these programs is that they do little to actually prevent school violence from happening: School officials all across the country are implementing plans and policies to combat increasing events of violence that take place in school settings. The problem is school officials often have little warning that violence will occur until it is too late." The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the faculty frequently does not recognize the true extent of bullying in the school (p. [...]

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