How Prevalent is School Violence?
Unfortunately, school violence is a topic that is far from the minds of parents, students, teachers, and communities as a whole, especially in communities in which severe school violence has not occurred. However, violence in schools does not consist of just school shootings, but involves bullying, gangs, students carrying guns to school, and anything that makes other students feel threatened. Most of the time students feel threatened in silence, while others are not aware that such danger exists around them.
Most of the time school violence consists of small groups of people fighting amongst themselves. Although this can be considered good news because most students are not involved, it is only a matter of time before the violence bleeds into the general student population and innocent students are injured. This false sense of security made 96% of students in the Class of 2000 feel safe at school. However, 22% of them knew of students who carried weapons to school. Approximately 53% of the students surveyed said they believed a Columbine-like shooting could occur in their school.
Since 1992, there have been approximately 270 violent deaths that have occurred in schools according to a report by the National School Safety Center. Of those deaths, 207 of them were due to gun violence. As it stands, the amount of school violence in the 1999 to 2000 school year was ¼ of that in the 1992-1993 school year, but these percentages rely solely on how many incidents are recorded. For instance, in a 1996-1997 survey, it was found that 57% of public school principals reported a crime or act of violence that occurred on school property. The most common of these were physical attacks that did not involve weapons.
Since the above numbers were released, many schools have intervened and put tools in place to aid in reducing school violence. These involve placing metal detectors at entrances, hiring security guards for the schools, performing frequent locker inspections, and placing video cameras throughout the school other than in restrooms.
Nevertheless, there are some forms of school violence that are not observed, such as violence that happens in areas of the school that are not monitored. This can include restrooms, stairways, and areas outside of the actual school building but on school grounds. This violence comes in the form of physical violence. However, there is a type of violence that is never caught on tape no matter where it occurs and that is bullying. This is a form of emotional violence that seems to always be a problem that tends to be ignored, mainly because teachers and other administrators do not know how to handle the problem.
Prevention lies in the form of knowledge. By teachers and other administrators becoming more knowledgeable about the causes of violence, what to look for, and how to remedy the problem, current methods of intervention such as video cameras, security guards, and metal detectors would be even more effective.