Controversy abounds in the current debate over what factors influence the rising trends in school violence among teens. Some argue that mass media influences are responsible for the alarming rate at which school violence among teens is climbing. These influences may include video games, movies and music with aggressive or violent themes. Even the evening news with its emphasis on gore and violence has been accused of contributing to the problem of violence among teens in school.
Others contend that the increasing trends of violence in the public school system are a direct result of overcrowding and/or inadequate learning institutions. Some might even point the finger at individual administrators or educators within the system.
As an educator at an alternative high school, however, I have found that while the above suggestions can influence school violence among teens to some degree, the heart of the problem appears to manifest itself within the home environment. Therefore, I believe that parents themselves are the front line of defense when it comes to battling the demons of school violence among teens.
Many of the teens that I have the pleasure of opening up my classroom to come from highly underprivileged and troubled homes. Some of them are unfortunate products of the system that have little, if any, sense of security or stability in their lives. In getting to know these kids and learning of the atrocities many of them endure in their personal lives, it is no wonder to me that they are prone to react violently to stressful or frustrating situations. I have noticed that students who receive consistent positive support in their home environments tend to avoid engaging in violent behavior as opposed to those who are constantly exposed to violent and aggressive role models. Naturally, the problem of troubled families is compounded at school by an overload in student enrollment and lack of qualified professionals in the field. It would take a diligent restructuring of the public school system to incorporate additional programs that could address the special needs of children who come from abusive or neglecting families.
It is important to note, however, that school violence among teens is a dangerous reality that is prevalent throughout the entire school system and not only in underprivileged areas. Therefore it is crucial that parents, educators, administrators and other qualified professionals collaborate their efforts to set positive examples for the youth of our community. If the individual needs of the children within the public school system were better addressed, violence among teens in school would likely diminish substantially.