Posted: July 13, 2018 15:45 by admin

School Violence in America school_violence.jpg

School violence is fast becoming a headline spread across the front page of every newspaper in America. We, as a country, are scrambling to stop this violence and more importantly, to understand why it is happening in the first place. The bully on the playground has been a part of every generation in schools. However, the violence we are now witnessing is escalating to epic proportions. Children are killing other children, with each new shooter wanting to outdo the prior shooter. Why are children using violence to this degree? Is it due to a changing society, social media, family problems, lack of gun control, or mental illness? How can we as a society deal with this issue?

Exploring the Cause of Why Children Use Violence 

Both psychologists and psychiatrists conduct and compile extensive studies on what may be causing school violence. There are many theories; home life, lack of discipline, violence on TV, music, drugs, social media, and gangs:
  •  Home life conditions teach children how to respond to various situations and circumstances. If children grow up in a home where there is physical or verbal abuse; they are more likely to become the abuser using violence as a solution. 
  •  With both parents working in most homes, mostly out of necessity, children are left unsupervised leaving them in charge of their actions. The decisions they make on their own may not be the ones that their parents would decide for them, so there are more opportunities for violence to take place.
  •  Lack of discipline can cause children to feel as though they can do no wrong and possibly to feel unloved. This type of child becomes self-absorbed and lacks empathy for others.
  •  Violence on television and in video games can make children numb to actual violence. With most violent acts on TV, especially cartoons, not showing harm to the victim or a consequence to the attacker, children grow up thinking that people do not get hurt, die, or go to jail. 
  •  Violent lyrics glorify guns, portray women as victims, and mock authority. These messages delivered through song further promote that violence is exciting and an adrenaline rush.
  •  The connection between gangs, drugs, and guns involves all types of school violence. There are thousands of organized street gangs with strict codes for behavior and punishment for telling secrets or breaking the rules in the United States. Many children and teens with low self-esteem or academic issues find what they think is friendship by joining a gang. Most gangs are primarily into selling drugs and fighting for territory. Children are drawn to a gang to gain a sense of belonging but put far more at stake.
  •  Prescribed drugs, such as Ritalin, Luvox, and Prozac which treat ADHD and bipolar disorder play a significant role in violence in schools. These medications are linked to the mass shootings in schools. Some children taking them have a mental illness.

Children growing up in today’s world have a lot of pressure placed on them. Regardless of the cause, school violence does not begin in school. 

Is Mental Illness to Blame?

Some believe the shootings are a result of mental health issues. To assume mental illness is the only factor involved in these shooting is ignorant. Additionally, implying these shootings are a result of a mental health issue is concerning. Mental health issues are on the rise, and if mental illness is the cause of these shootings, then we can only expect to see an increase in school shootings. In reality, most believe these mass shootings are a result of an extensive array of factors. 

In fact, there has been a great deal of research indicating gun violence in the United States is connected to the unique gun laws this country has in place. While some shooters have certainly had mental health issues, however, it is not the primary issue.

What Can Be Done to Prevent School Violence?

America and especially parents of school-aged children are concerned about the level of violence in schools. We send our children to school to learn with the expectation that their safety at school is guaranteed. We are all concerned with the changing culture in America. We fear that our children are becoming increasingly withdrawn and unreachable.
  •  Children of all ages need clear rules with logical and consistent natural consequences for breaking them. These expectations are essential in the home setting for children to recognize there is zero tolerance for disobedience. Schools must also follow suit by giving logical and consistent consequences.  Adherence to 'Zero tolerance’ policies involving weapons is in place in schools all across the United States with the right to expel students for possession of a firearm. 
  •  Control of your own behavior is learned at home. However, schools have a responsibility to assist in preventing violence as well. Educating today’s youth and their parents about nonviolence should be part of the “Why” Curriculum. Anger management and healthy, functional ways to manage conflict should be part of this education. 
  •  Schools need to teach students about social media. The dangers and potential consequences of inappropriate use can follow students for the rest of their lives. Bullying on the internet must have the same punishment as if it happened at the school. 
  •  Teachers, parents, and students all have a responsibility to watch for signs of unusual behavior and to report it without fear of repercussion before it escalates into a violent situation. 
  •  Today’s youth and their parents need productive and healthy activities to involve themselves in and to be mindful of the company they keep..

Adults (police, teachers, parents, counselors) and communities need to work in unison to create and provide an environment where children can safely learn. Working together will lessen the fears of teachers, students, and parents.

School Violence West Palm Beach 

Dr. Lee Ann Lehman

Dr. Lee Ann Lehman focuses on the entire family as she helps to resolve complex issues. Her approach is different because she thinks outside the box to help guide you to the best solution(s) tailored to fit your needs and works alongside you empowering you with the tools to gain control of your situation. Using respect, kindness, and understanding, she helps you to feel that it is okay to seek help rather than continue to be troubled by your situation. Her techniques are evidence-based and proven to be effective. As a result, she can help families learn coping skills to help deal with complex mental health issues and situations such as divorce, substance abuse, and trauma. Driven by her practice’s mission statement: “To increase an individual’s and/or family’s ability to cope with difficult situations using acceptance, understanding, education, and guided practice with the tools necessary to restore confidence and freedom from the burden of emotional and physical threat.” 

Call today at 561-701-3159 to obtain answers to your questions and to schedule your appointment.


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