The school bell rings. Teens and young adults race from classrooms gleefully welcoming the open air. Any break out of class is clearly welcome. Unknowing of the up coming events, they all gather around each other in their little cliques and discuss up coming events, gossip, sports, or anything that really ‘tickles their fancy’. What they don’t realize is that in about point two seconds a classmate will come with a gun and shoot them point-blank without batting an eyelash. Of course, they wouldn’t expect it, it’s school. School’s a safe place, right? Can you remember when you were in school? Can you remember what problems you faced? Were you afraid to step foot on campus because a bully might steal your lunch money? Back then; you probably weren’t afraid of a fellow classmate trying to steal something more valuable then money, your life.
It’s amazing how many people claim to know what is going on in schools; even the teachers don’t have a clue. Many articles and interviews after incidents such as “Columbine”, “Montreal” and obviously the recent events at “Virginia Tech”, were quick to throw the guilt on everyone else. One article screamed from its headlines, “They were Satan worshipers! It’s Satan’s fault!” Some articles tried to blame it on the “Goth” stereotype. Others tried a different approach: “Blame Marilyn Manson!” Whether they were blaming religious figures, mainstream labels, or popular musicians is irrelevant, the point is everyone was quick to point fingers but no one stepped to the plate to put a stop to the problem.
However, what is the problem? The problem is bluntly obvious. The problem is not personal preference to religion, nor is it mainstream styles, and it certainly isn’t because of famous musicians. The problem lies at home and in the heart of the school. Parents and schools stopped caring.
Teachers don’t know what goes on in the home life of their students; and many don’t care. Broken homes are on the rise. The number of children born to drug addicts and alcoholics has amounted considerably in the past 20 years. As common sense could tell you, drugs and alcohol leads to neglect and more often than not physical (and mental) abuse. The psychology of a child is very fragile. Growing up in broken homes can often leave the child feeling vulnerable, unsociable, and isolated. Growing up with neglecting parents reduces self-esteem, which in turn influences social life in school considerably.
Let’s face it…children are not nice. They do not like the different, they do not like the unsociable and they are defiantly not tolerating to physical appearance. What do you think happens to a child when they are rejected and tormented at home only to find the same treatment at school? After a few years of this, they’re obviously not going to be too happy don’t you think? By the time the child is grown and reaches high school they will develop hatred towards everyone that they believe to be the cause of their problems and try to eliminate the source by either hurting them or themselves (i.e., school shooting and/or suicide).
Schools don’t help. Schools counselors are a joke. If they actually get a child that is in need of help (which is highly doubtful), they don’t do much to help the child. How can you? Most children are not willing to talking to strangers about their most intimate, troubling, problems. When was the last time you saw a six year old sit down with a strange lady and say “Yes, ma’am. My parents hit me regularly!” It does not happen that way. Even if they are able to help the younger generation, the older age group is simply out of luck. Most teachers don’t pay attention to their students. It’s a sad fact, but true. You are sending your children to get an education from a facility that teachers are so blind they can’t tell the difference between the happy children from the depressed.
So, now that we see the problem, how do we resolve it? The answer is not in looking for early signs. That won’t work. You cannot stereotype an individual. A killer can be the shy, geeky, intelligent one who hides or it can easily be the attention starved football player. Humans are amazing creatures. We are the only ones in the animal kingdom that can easily lie, manipulate, and hide our true identities.
The answer lies in education. Drug rehabs, parenting classes and programs, therapy and counseling for families, edification regarding controlled birth (stopping an unwanted pregnancy can easily stop a lot of neglect and abuse in the world) and helping children in obvious need are steps and ways that we can put an end to mass violence in schools. Of course, this won’t stop all of it, but it will stop a great deal of school shootings, gang fights, and suicide.
Together, as a society, we need to put a stop to school violence. A school should be a safe environment for everyone and feared by no one. Get involved with your children. A lot more is going in their life than let they on.