American schools today seem to have a major problem. Violence in and around school buildings is on the rise. As each year progresses more and more students are reported to be involved in some form of conflict; whether it is petty or serious. Yet, these problems are not a concern only to the students, but to the parents and teachers as well. So, why is violence prevalent in our schools; and what can we do to prevent the ones we love from becoming a statistic?
When one hears about episodes of school violence, images of students angrily shouting insults and passionately pummeling each other usually come to mind. Surprisingly, though, school-related antagonism is not always serious. In the year 2000, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education reported:
"The most prevalent type of youth crime is theft, and the most common types of violence are fist fights, bullying and shoving matches."
(School Crime, 2000)
Such episodes are common-place in school halls or grounds; rarely, if ever, in the classroom itself. Throughout all this, what are the schools themselves doing to monitor these episodes? Their reports indicate that:
"Schools which reported serious discipline problems were more likely to have experienced one or more incidents of crime or violence, and were more likely to experience serious violent crime than those with less serious discipline problems." If schools are not doing enough to monitor these situations, then perhaps we can find relief outside the problem area.
Many researchers believe that school-related assaults can be affected and instigated by what transpires away from school. Duress in the home, or elsewhere, seems to have a strong impact on what occurs inside the school. The American Medical Association discovered that:
"Substance abuse, perpetration of physical violence, and witnessing violence were significantly correlated...