School violence has always been in public schools but it has escalated exponentially since the 1970’s. In the beginning, school violence was limited to “troubled” school districts in areas of gang violence and territorial disputes. As the regulations in public schools changed to eliminate corporal punishment in favor of counseling and detention, students began to lose respect for the very adults who had always represented an area of respect and trust for the student.
Students of today see violence on every corner. With the state of the economy as it is, there are more robberies and attacks in the news daily. Prior to the 70’s the news media was limited to local television news, local newspaper and radio reports.
The national news was broadcast every evening at 6:30 but the thirty minutes allotted covered so much that there was not time to dwell on negatives in local school systems. Students seemed to gain control as psychologists began to teach parents that each child should be disciplined through “time-out” rather than spanking.
Over the years the parents lost control of children through fear of being turned in to social services for disciplining a child. Where parents had previously solved many problems by applying a little pressure to the “seat of the problem”, parents began to scold their child in hopes of obedience.
The break down in discipline began in the home and graduated to the school systems where school psychologists who were over eager to do their jobs often expressed in loud voices their disagreement with corporal punishment of any degree. The days of getting a paddling in school and then getting another one when the child got home came to an abrupt end. Without the threat of power over the student, there was no respect for the ability of the teacher to control the situation.
Psychologists are often heard saying that the violence in schools today is directly proportional to the amount of violence seen on television and in movies today. This may be true but with one caveat; lack of parental direction and intervention. In today’s world the family no longer has a stay-at-home-mom and a dad who comes home to play catch after work and on weekends.
Families today involve two working parents, one parent families, children raised by grandparents and other unusual configurations. Guidance is received from peers, school guidance counselors, coaches, and the media. Students are children and, as such, they are not yet mature enough to make significant decisions for themselves.
Sometimes the outside guidance and influence is too much for the fragile and still developing mind of a student to handle and the pressure results in a break such as the type high lighted on the news from event to event. Each time the news makes such a thing a focus of a story, a student with no guidance can latch onto the idea or action and plan to repeat it. The power of suggestion is very powerful to a young mind.
School districts deal differently with threats of violence and parents should make it their business to investigate the plans in the school district of their children. While no one wants to insinuate that a student does not have personal rights, it is well to remember that all children (of all ages) need a certain amount of discipline and do not need to be left to their own devices.
Each student should view his/her teacher and principal as a person of education and knowledge and respect him/her as the “adult in the room”. While allowing a child to grow up, the parent must be careful not to allow him/her to become the person in charge. It is not enough to be a child’s “friend”. There must be an adult in charge.
Without adults being allowed to keep discipline in the classroom or parents being allowed to set the rules, there will be even more violence as kids who already “want it all and want it now” try to get it before someone else does.
All adults need to be able to identify a child’s potential rage for what it can become. Rage is the precursor to violence and should be identified by those at home first before it blossoms into violence at school. Today’s student has not come to terms with reality yet. To a student something as serious to an adult as death is not even real. A student is still used to the star dying in a movie only to appear in the next one perfectly well.
Death and violence to a student is what he or she sees on television, in a movie or a video game. It isn’t real. This is one of the truths about the escalating school violence today. When dealing with an inner rage or with feelings the student doesn’t understand, actions can escalate and unintended consequences can ensue.
Bringing student respect for the teacher back into the school system can help to alleviate problems such as this. When a student respects a teacher he/she has someone to confide in.