The World Health Organization defines violence as ‘’The intentional use of physical power or force, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group of people or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, psychological harm, deprivation, maldevelopment or death’’.
In the perspective of above mentioned definition, school violence is described to be “physical violence, including fights between students, or physical attacks on school staff by students or vice versa, physical punishment (hitting, spanking, pinching or slapping deliberately). Psychological abuse, including verbal abuse, body shaming, or grade shaming in front of the class. Sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, drug-facilitated sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Bullying, including cyberbullying (posting photos and videos without consent, blackmailing over sensitive pictures or videos, threatening over texts or calls, damaging someone’s reputation by spreading false rumors etc.), and carrying weapons in school to threaten others”.
In order to save the millennials from this obnoxious trend, that’s obliterating the morals of society and creating a haunted environment in educational institutes, we have to reach the core of this problem.
One of the major reasons for school violence is “Substance Intake” by students or school staff. The use of drugs or alcohol abuse on school premises. An intoxicated person tends to lose control of his temper more easily than a sober individual, which can eventually lead to violence and irrational behavior.
Another reason for school abuse is “Home Environment”. Domestic violence, physical & sexual child abuse, parental alcoholism, and exposure to television violence or violent games especially at early teenage also lead to aggressiveness in children.
Neighborhood Environment, another risk factor for school abuse. Children in violent neighborhood perceive that the society is risky and you can’t always live as a victim to it so they develop a sense of vulnerability that “Kindness is a weakness” which increases the chances of aggression and harsh behavior towards everything.
School Environment itself is a crucial risk factor. The unsupervised environment of school which encompasses drug supplies, sexual activities during school hours, Sexual pranks, or repeated sexual teasing, jokes, or innuendo, in person or via e-mail, verbal abuse, touching or grabbing of a sexual nature.
Peer and Social Factors includes Social rejection by peers, involvement in gangs, association with delinquent peers, poor academic performance, Low commitment to school, lack of involvement in conventional activities, and school failure.
Other individual factors are Lower IQ which is related to higher levels of aggression, deficits in social, cognitive or information-processing abilities, poor behavioral control, high emotional distress, antisocial beliefs and attitudes, exposure to violence, conflict in the family, history of early aggressive behavior and history of violent victimization, early problematic motor skills, reading problems, attentional difficulties in boys predict later persistent antisocial conduct.
Prevention and Interventions
We all are well aware of the saying, “Charity begins at home”. So, the first and the most effective prevention starts from home. Parents/guardians must ensure a violence-free environment in the household. They should bear in mind that teenagers are impressionable and, as such, they tend to adopt their behavioral standards from what they see and observe in their households. Effective communication between parents and their children will help reduce perceived pressure, which causes children to act violently in schools. Parents may also seek professional help regarding the type of video games and television programs that children should be exposed to. Parents shouldn’t pressurize their children about high grades as every child is unique and has their own abilities. So, parents should act accordingly.
Schools should also set strong disciplinary measures into action, which perpetrator of the act will face, if anyone fails to abide by the institution’s rules and regulations. There should also be up-to-date security measures in school premises and school-sponsored events, to ensure that students are properly searched and stripped of any kind of drugs, weapons, or any other dangerous item before entering the premises. The school should also introduce a camera surveillance system and proper security system with specially trained guards so that the school and school-held events be properly guarded to quickly detect any possible threat of violence. The need to engage students in awareness campaigns cannot be overemphasized. A consultation system is also needed to counsel and enlighten students on anger-management, conflict resolution, character development, and a host of other topics that will help them to deal with the psychological issues associated with school violence.
Anti-bullying strategies should strictly be observed in schools. Bullying prevention programs should be introduced to school staff and educators who will train them on how to mediate a bullying situation, as well as procedures to take if a child is suicidal.
Also, the government in some parts of the world – especially First-World countries – permits weapons such as, guns to be made more accessible in households. Teenagers have access to sharp objects and dangerous arms, which they take to school and use to intimidate their peers. In addition to this, the legal system in many areas – especially third-world countries – is yet to develop specific laws that will help restrain school violence and make it an offence punishable by the law. The larger community such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should make efforts to reach out to students and other youth in order to properly address issues of school violence and its possible factors such as drug abuse, social anxieties, and other forms of mental, or affective disorders. The legal system in under-developed countries should also be reviewed in order to accommodate specific laws for school violence. The government should also spread awareness about school violence, in order to further enlighten the general public about the menace. Violence in schools is not just a school problem, rather it’s a social problem with an enormous ripple effect- one act of violence can trigger numerous negative outcomes. Hence, the society is expected to work together in order to curb this social ill.