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School violence refers to the various forms of violent activity perpetrated on school grounds. These activities include physical and verbal abuse, bullying, brawling, and shooting (Espelage & Swearer, 2004). Typically, the most commonly reported form of school violence is bullying, which often results in physical abuse. Bullying involves the coercion of somebody to do something against his or her will. This is often because the person possesses some weakness such as small body size. It is a fact that school violence and bullying pose have always posed the significant challenge to school administrators in regards to approach. It is particularly challenging for school administrators to determine the sort of punishments that should be meted out to students that perpetrate violence.
In order to combat bullying and avoid instances of bullying in schools, it is important to take a completely different approach. For one, it is important for school administrators to engage students and gain their insights (Espelage & Swearer 2004). This could prove to be crucial since the students could shed a lot of light on many issues that were previously unknown. Second, some policies currently used to fight bullying do not seem to be working.
These require elimination entirely. A good example of this is the zero tolerance policy, which does not tackle the issues but rather avoids them. This policy has only served to increase the dropout and suspension rates. It is important to realize that some of the issues that lead to school violence and bullies are psychological in nature, meaning that they can be worked on to prevent individuals from taking their frustrations out on schoolmates.
Over the years, one factor that has remained unchanged is the ability to report cases of school violence and bullying. Most victims do not report cases of bullying or school violence because there simply is not a system in place that makes them feel safe and anonymous if they report. Particularly in this modern age of social networks, bullying (cyber- bullying) has increased significantly. Today, cyber bullying is the easiest to perpetrate yet it possesses the most power. Another type of bullying is indirect bullying, this is where a person is teased by others for no reason, and this creates low self-esteem amongst him or her.
This is because nearly all states have anti-bullying laws but only a few cover cyber bullying. Research has indicated that the highest levels of depression are attributable to cyber bullying and are most likely to elicit a reaction that leads to a violent retaliation (Campbell, 2005). There should be a proper system in place to ensure that qualified counselors who maintain anonymity yet take the required actions attend to children in trouble. More importantly, children that exhibit violent behavior or bullying tendencies required counseling in order to get to the root of the issues that lead to their behavior (Peterson, 2007). This will ensure that they do not ‘blow up’ later and go on a shooting spree.
Bullying has a toll on the self-esteem of a person. Research has shown that persons that are bullied are often depressed, and there are those that have gone ahead and committed suicide because of low-self esteem. Consequently, there is a need for counselors to quickly identify those that are being bullied by looking at several telling factors. They can then ensure that bullying stops and that there is the protection of the person’s self-esteem.
Those that are deemed ‘queer’ are often bullied more as compared to straight people. Unfortunately those who are gay and homosexual are often bullied, and their sexuality has something to do with it. Therefore, those that are not deemed straight or ‘normal’ are often bullied more as compared to other persons. As discussed in this paper most issues that lead to school violence and bullying are psychological, meaning that they are workable. School administrators should work on their policies and institute measures that will curb this scourge.
Espelage, D, Swearer K., (2004) Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Rutledge.
Campbell, Marilyn A., (2005) "Cyber Bullying: An Old Problem in a New Guise?." Australian journal of Guidance and Counselling 15.01: 68-76.
Peterson H., (2007) The remedy to Bullying. SAGE: New York
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