If you watch the news, you do not have to look very far to find reports of violence in our high schools. In fact, there is even an interactive map of school shootings since 1992 that you can view.
In this blog, I have included a table where you can find your state and the number of shootings in your state (sorry California, you win…er, maybe lose this one). Looking at the average age of the shooters, 168% of the gunmen were between the ages of 10-19 (upper elementary to high school age students).
So, this tells me that we have a lot of violent young teenagers out there with the heart to harm others. So, besides school shootings, what constitutes school violence?
What is School Violence
How Can Schools Effectively Deal With School Violence?
There are countless ways that schools typically deal with youth violence. These practices include implementing zero tolerance policies like: suspensions, expulsions, metal detectors, and law enforcement presence. Although these are often popular, they have a tendency not to substantially reduce school violence. So, what can schools do to reduce school violence? Could it be that involving students and staff members in the process can make a difference in violence prevention? The Centers for Disease Control seems to believe that no one factor causes school violence; therefore, it is going to take a multiple factors to reduce school violence.
The CDC believes that school violence is everyone’s problem and is a major health concern like cancer, diabetes, mental illness, or AIDS. Since school violence is a public health concern, schools should be focusing on preventing violence before it starts.
Here are some prevention strategies suggested by the CDC:
- Individual level strategies-these include pro-social activities for students and teaching skills like emotional self awareness, social skills, empathy, social problem solving, conflict management, and teamwork.
- Relationship level strategies-improving peer relationships, improving staff-peer relationships, teaching staff to model non-violent behavior, helping teachers with classroom management, helping staff understand students from diverse backgrounds, and increasing parent involvement.
- Community level strategies-supporting effective classroom management practices, promoting cooperative learning, creating open communication and dialogue with parents, maintaining natural surveillance (cutting high shrubbery from around windows and keeping well marked entrances), and creating a warm and welcoming environment (clean restrooms, displaying student artwork and school’s logo or mascot).
- Societal level strategies-addressing social norms about the acceptability of violence and ensuring that the school promotes strong educational growth for staff and students.
It is my belief that school counselors have a great opportunity to make a difference in their schools in youth violence prevention! In fact, since next month is Youth Violence Prevention month, you have the opportunity to really shine in your school. How do you ask? Let me give you some tips.
Tips from the Idaho School Counselors Association:
- Create a mentoring program to assist students with academic and peer concerns.
- Provide group counseling to students with academic, career, personal-social, or social needs.
- Facilitate a program to address the needs of your school (peer mediation, peer listening, peer tutoring, teaching conflict management skills) to extend your reach into the school.
- Employ restorative practices as an alternative to zero tolerance.
Tips from ASCA:
And now, a Call To ACTION!!!
CDC School Violence Fact Sheet
School Violence Stats
Center for Disease Control Prevention Strategies for Schools
CDC Youth Violence Prevention Resources
Do Something Bully Text Campaign
SAVE Youth Violence Prevention Activities
Broward County Schools Anti-Bullying Secondary Schools Activities
Broward County Schools “Planting the Seeds of Prevention” Curriculum Book
UMASS School Counselor Violence and Crisis Resources
Office of Juvenile Justice
FCCLA: Stop the Violence