It is Time to Eliminate School Violence
The mix has become appallingly predictable: volcanic anger, no one to turn to, and readily available firearms. Result: dead and wounded students, teachers, and faculty at schools in all parts of our nation. Violence in our schools, whether it involves threats, fistfights, knives, or firearms, is unnecessary and intolerable. Children deserve a safe setting to learn in. Teachers and staff deserve a safe place to work in. Communities deserve safe schools that educate kids and help keep neighborhoods safer.
For some schools, violence may be a minor issue; for others, it may be a daily concern. The threat of violence can keep students away from school, prevent them from going to after-school events, and leave them in fear every day. To make our schools safer, everyone can and must help: teachers, parents, students, policy makers, law enforcement officers, and other concerned community leaders. Each of us can do something to help solve the problem. And it's a problem we all must solve.
The most common school security measure used to prevent violence or other disruptive acts requires school staff, in particular teachers and security staff, to monitor student's movements in and around campus. The supervisors should watch the hallways, doorways, restrooms, cafeteria, and the areas where students congregate most. Parents provide for very effective and less costly monitors and teacher's aides. Youth are less likely to misbehave or engage in violent acts if parents from their neighborhood are highly visible on a daily basis in their school.
Establishing a dress code is another strategy used to curb violence. Administrators, teachers, parents, and students should develop the dress code collaboratively. Schools must be sure that the rules created have a purpose. Every administrator, teacher, parent, and student should receive a copy of the codes. They should also be reviewed in each class so that every student is aware of their existence and the consequences of violating any rules. School administrators and teachers should ensure that the codes are implemented consistently and firmly but also fairly.
Schools should establish counseling programs for students, and assure that students do indeed have access to their counselors. The average high school counselor has between 350-400 students to advise. Needless to say, students are lucky to see their counselor once during a school year, usually when it is effectively counsel the students in the school and to ensure that students have access to their assigned counselor on a regular basis, counselors should be assigned no more than 125-150 students per school year. Counselors should also be relieved of all clerical and other noncounseling responsibilities.
Another form of "counseling" is the widespread use of conflict resolution strategies to defuse potentially violent situations and to persuade those involved to use nonviolent means to...