Parents send their kids off to school everyday hoping that their children will make it home. The school system today is not what it was like fifty years ago, teachers would disaplin students for talking too much or chewing gum, but today teachers have to wonder if they are going to get shot for giving a kid a bad grade. Now that might be a little exaerated but the safety of everyone in a school is not as comforting as it once was. The trend of school violence began a few years ago and then rapidly increased in almost in a copycat pattern.
Kids that were made fun of or were loners, saw others like them acting out in redemption for the bullying that they had endured. That began the violent out burst of school violence and shootings. Teenage angst and violence have always been around but has grown in recent years. From school year of 1996-1997 More than half of U. S. public schools reported experiencing at least one crime incident in school, and 1 in 10 schools reported at least one serious violent crime during that school year (Burns, 1998).
Fifty-seven percent of public elementary and secondary school principals reported that one or more incidents of violence that were reported to the police had occurred in their school during the 1996-97 school year. Ten percent of all public schools experienced one or more serious violent crimes (defined as murder, rape or other type of sexual battery, suicide, physical attack or fight with a weapon, or robbery) that were reported to police during the 1996-97 school year. Fights without a weapon led the list of reported crimes in public schools with about 190,000 such incidents reported for 1996-97.
About 116,000 incidents of theft or larceny were reported along with 98,000 incidents of vandalism. These less serious or nonviolent crimes were more common than serious violent crimes, with schools reporting about 4,000 incidents of rape or other type of sexual battery, 7,000 robberies, and 11,000 incidents of physical attacks or fights in which weapons were used (Burns, 1998). When it comes down to statistics the numbers become large, but the number of kids that walk into a school everyday is pretty amazing.
The amount of students that walk into school with guns is also becoming large. Between the years of 1979 and 2001 there have been 27 school shootings and 14 attemped shooting between the years of 1999 and 2001. There been 17 adult deaths, 37 student deaths, and 121 wounded people, the range of ages is 6-18 (promise). In the attemped school shootings 11 students reported suspisous behavior, 10 weapons were found, 11 plans or hit lists were, and the range of ages are 12-18 (promise).
With out a doubt these are figures that would scare any student, teacher, parent, or principal, which led to this quote; “No matter where you are, parents want their students to be safe and secure that might even precede a quality education With drugs, gangs, and guns on the rise in many communities the threat of violence weighs heavily on most principals’ minds these daysAnyone who thinks they are not vulnerable is really naive. ” (Durso,1997). The truth is a lot of things that need to be done to make schools safer, many schools have already began precautions. School Security is one of the most important aspects of prevention.
The most common school security measure is the monitoring of students when they move through the hallways and in places where they congregate, such as restrooms and the cafeteria. School staff members have been served as monitors, but increasingly schools are hiring security guards to patrol the building and to provide security at events. Some even have police officers inside and outside of the building to ensure safety, I have since this at my old high school. Probation officers with on- site offices can provide help to students who have already engaged in illegal behavior.
To keep students from bringing in weapons some schools use metal detectors and others administer many search a students’ body, possessions, and locker. Since there is a strong relationship between student violence and use and sale of drugs, administrators make special efforts to keep schools drug-free, through both education campaigns and searching. The courts have been divided about the constitutionality of searches for either weapons or drugs, however, and some methods, such as use of drug-sniffing dogs, are being challenged legally (Green, 1999).
Teacher Involvement is a strong way to battle violence, teachers see who of their students are at risk. Meetings about violence issues are held regularly, administrators provide information about violent occurrences and responses to them, involve faculty members in prevention efforts, and listen to concerns. Teachers can also meet in groups to discuss ways to establish and maintain control of their classroom, and to brainstorm strategies for working with disruptive students.
Training in violence prevention-for other staff such as school bus drivers, as well as teachers-can both make the school safer and help staff feel more secure. Schools may also have crisis centers, which are staffed places where students who commit or threaten an act of violence can go to receive on- the-spot counseling and to “cool off. ” Since at-risk students respond positively to personal attention, teachers can help students resist violent impulses and the lure of drugs and gangs by offering them extra help with their schoolwork, referrals, informal counseling, or even just a sympathetic ear.
Government Initiatives such as precautions to reduce the availability of guns, particularly the sale of weapons to minors. Some states now hold parents legally responsible for certain behavior of their children, such as truancy and delinquency. President Clinton signed the 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act, mandating a one-year expulsion for students who bring weapons to school “zero tolerance” for weapons policies of some states already in existence (Green, 1999). Community Initiatives such as activities focus on breaking family cycles of violence.
They involve the collaborative efforts of religious and recreational organizations; social service, public housing and health agencies; the business community; the schools; and law enforcement agencies. Anti-Violence interventions are necessary to prevent youth violence. Elementary education training in anger management, impulse control, appreciation of diversity, and mediation and conflict resolution skills can help prevent youth from engaging in violence as they mature (Burns, 1998).
Early discussions about the negative consequences of gang membership, and providing children with positive ways of getting personal needs met, can protect them from future gang recruitment. Anti-Gang even more than violence prevention in general, effective anti-gang strategies involve all school operations and staff. They require establishment of a positive school climate, good communications and security, a staff trained in crisis intervention, and a coordinated effort.
Schools should not only acknowledge a gang presence, but that they investigate its extent and determine who the members are, what they do, and where they hang out. A first step is often establishing and publicizing the focus that a gang presence like clothing and paraphernalia, as well as behavior will not be tolerated. Policies that flow from the philosophy include a dress code and prohibition on flashing gang signs, shouting gang slogans, and writing gang graffiti on school or personal property.
Many school buildings in the United States have been constructed to achieve an inviting and open-to-the-community feeling, with multiple buildings, big windows, and multiple entrances and exits. Now these layouts are not the best way to meet requirements of security needs. To combat broken windows and nighttime thefts, the country also went through a brief period of designing schools with almost no windows; the cavelike results these designs produced were soon found to be objectionable to many people (Green, 1999).
Incorporating the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in the design or remodeling of a school can contribute greatly to the control and security of the campus. This is critical to ensuring that the design of the new school minimizes vulnerabilities. Some ideas of the CPTED are; Limit the number of buildings-one building is best-to limit outsiders on the campus. Minimize the entrances to the school building- having one or two main entrances/exits will support efforts to keep outsiders off campus. Allow enough room at the main entry in the event that a screening area (i. , for weapon or drug detection) needs to be incorporated later on.
Alarm other exits for emergency use only. Minimize the line of sight from secluded off-campus sites onto student gathering areas, the main entry doors, playgrounds, patios. Allow for a security person to be posted at a single entrance onto campus to challenge each vehicle for identification of all occupants. Buses and school employees should have a separate (and controlled) entrance. Provide a dropoff/pickup lane for buses only. These are just a few of the ideas the CPTED has for the construction of the perfect school.