The history of violence in schools has no set pattern, but statistics report back to the 1970s. In 1978, a reported 282,000 students were assaulted in high schools, and 5,200 teachers were also assaulted that year (Elliot, 1998). Between 1984 and 1994, the number of teens who were killed doubled, while the number of adult homicides decreased (Elliot, 1998). Over the years, students have felt increasingly more afraid to go to school. Along with the number of homicides increasing, lesser crimes like theft and assault have gone up as well (Elliot, 1998). An outrageous statistic from the book “Violence in American Schools,” states “nearly half (47%) of all teens believe their schools are becoming more violent, and one of every ten report a fear of being shot or hurt by classmates that carry weapons to school” (Elliot, 1998). Sadly enough, over the years, children have become afraid to go to a place, which once made them feel safe.
People have many different perceptions about what school violence is, and how it is handled. There are many misconceived ideas about the safety of schools. One common myth is that “security problems have always existed in schools, and administrators are experienced in properly handling these problem” (pg. 3 Practical School Security). This is not the case; while there are problems that are “normal,” sometimes they are not handled correctly or thoroughly. Often things are handled administratively but not given to law enforcements to deal with. For instance, if theft occurs in the school, the law should be involved, due to the fact that theft is against the law. However, this is not the case in a lot of school systems. Young adults then may get the notion that is “ok” to steal, vandalize, and be aggressive towards one another with no consequences. Sometimes, if a young adult commits a crime, there needs to be more of a consequence then simply being suspended from school. The school systems reason for not reporting crimes has to do alot with politics. The administration does not want bad publicity, or they “fear for being blamed and not doing their job correctly” (23). Another major reason for not reporting school-based crimes is the media. If there is violence in a school, it will be publicized in the media. In reality, the school system needs to be on the same page with the police, so they can help one another out.
The top five issues that are capturing the attention of the U.S. is “aggression and violent behavior, drugs, weapons, gangs, and ‘Stranger danger’” (p.5) These are the issues that have parents concerned, rather than the vandalism or the one on one fights. One of the most common myths is that “violent student behavior cannot be prevented”. (p.7) There are measures that can be taken to reduce the risks of violence. Sometimes it’s as simple as having administrators walk around campus more; their presence can make a difference.
Another myth is that kids commit crimes for only one reason. There are many reasons why young adults act the way they do. The children could have a hard home life, they could be homeless, they could need money, or they could even have abusive parents. There are 7 specific risks that raise the chances of a youth to become violent. The first is “child abuse”. Often times, a child learns to use violence to solve problems from