Parents are growing fearful of sending their children in school because of the gun shootings and violence reported in news that happens in school grounds. Parents are torn between wanting to keep their children safe and giving them the opportunity to study. Parents shouldn’t feel this way. Schools are children’s second home mainly because they spend most of their day in the four corners of the classroom, in hallways, locker rooms, gym and school grounds. It can be regarded as their second home.
Contrary to what is perceived by many people, violence in schools has steadily dropped in the last 10 years. According to the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) the annual rate of violent crimes in 2007 was less than half of the rate in 1994 (40 per 1,000). The graph below shows the declining trend of school violence from 1994 up to 2007.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2007. Cited in Figure 2.2 in Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007; National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
School is an important part of an individual for this is where he develops skills, acquire knowledge and learn to make lasting relationship with friends, mentors and colleagues. Every year approximately 50 million students go to school both in elementary and high school. Imagine if one in eight students carries a gun in school; it would be enough to wage a war.
Everyone must act to make our schools safe. Teachers, students and parents should help each other to be vigilant in reporting crimes and violence happening unnoticed. According to NCES survey 84% of public school has a low security system in place and 3% with no security at all. This is characterized by insufficient school guards and metal weapon detectors. Security guards should wear their badge at all times and implement strict rules on preventing outsiders from entering the school premises. Schools should initiate violence preventions programs and policies. Information can be found from these organizations: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, School Violence | School Bullying | School Safety, and National Crime Prevention Council.
Parents can help in preventing violence in schools by paying attention to changes in personality of their children. Many times children who are experiencing personal problems and those observed to have sudden change in moods and outlook are prone to becoming violent. Talk with your child if you see symptoms of depression, violence towards animals, sudden rage or sudden bouts of anger. Most of the time those children without an emotional outlet to turn to are the ones who succumb to violence.
Teachers are responsible in guiding students when they are in school and should equally be observant of brewing quarrels among peers and classmates. Teachers should watch out for bullying and gang fights in and out of the classroom, usually in school grounds like fields, gyms or hallways. Refer troublesome students for counseling and be prepared for crisis situation.
Students need to participate as well in trying to prevent school violence. Report untoward acts of bullying or peer pressure experienced or witnessed. Control your emotions and learn anger management. Know when to walk away in the presence of violent confrontations.
A safe school can be achieved if all would participate in its prevention. We need to strive hard to maintain a safe learning environment for the children.