What Causes School Violence?


Many stories in the news lately deal with the rise in school violence. Take , for instance, this recent story about teen group violence against a 13 year old student in central Florida.

It was the victim's first time riding the bus. Not one student on the bus allowed her to sit down.Then a group gathered around her, punching and kicking the victim until she passed out. The brutality was so violent, the girl was diagnosed with concussion, severe bruising in the head and muscle spasms.The bus driver had to pull into a nearby school in order to alert officials and get help.

Violence in the classroom is a plague on modern society. Even though schools hire security guards, install metal detectors and video cameras, we parents and grandparents do not feel secure. Why? Until the root problem of outrage in schools is eradicated , these measures will only be temporary solutions to the problem.

What are the causes of school violence?

One factor that may explain this problem is our young generation's early exposure to violence. Many adolescents are exposed to violence at an early age, very often in their own homes, either by witnessing it first hand in family altercations, or by watching it on television or on DVDs.

As children assimilate violence in the form of entertainment, they become desensitized to pain and suffering. They become anesthetized to trauma. Most of all, they become insensitive to the consequences of ego-serving rage, the kind that endows the villain with power and invincibility. Even as Hollywood entices its audience with unmitigated acts of violence, it purges these acts of all moral parameters.

Young and vulnerable minds come away from the screen believing that power justifies all—even murder.

Many begin imitating their screen hero by intensifying their desire to live raging. Teen anger is a popular theme in contemporary media.

Others who are themselves the victims of violence and bullying become trapped in the cycle of brutality.

Another factor is the lack of parental attention in many homes . While many argue that poverty creates family neglect, I can find equally valid arguments for (and examples of)close ,nurturing families that grow stronger during times of hardship. In fact, the best in human character surfaces during periods of want and suffering. It is not poverty that creates the criminal because poverty has also created Presidents and Nobel Laureates.

It is the choice that parents make—the choice not to give their children the attention they deserve. And this is a choice that has been made both under dire circumstances and during the best of times.

A recent study on youth violence and teen anger shows that the genetic disposition towards violence and delinquent behavior does not tell the whole story. Gene variants for violence can be moderated by environmental factors as simple as having a daily meal with one or both parents.

Teens who have daily meals and interaction with caring adults did not "express" the violent tendencies encrypted in their genes. By the same token, a lack of positive environmental influences in home,school and community amplified the negative effects of the "risky" gene.

The relationship between genes and youth violence lies literally in our hands. We have the power to intervene and moderate the behavior and tendencies of our children by making sure that we are part of a healthy and positive influence in their lives.

Parents who understand their responsibility as the stewards of their children's moral compass or sense of spirituality will make this sense of stewardship the guiding principle of their lives—no matter what their economic or social situations may be.

And we know why this stewardship is important; it's because children grow like turnips; they need soil and fertilizer; they need sun and rain. Most of all they need the faith that despite all that’s breaking down around them, they are rooted to the earth.

Who else but parents or surrogate parents rooted in love and hope can give a child this truth?

Who else but we adults can pass onto our children the roots of empathy. There is a relationship between school violence, societal violence and the lack of empathy as a positive value in our communities.

Perhaps we have dwelt too long in the ME generation and its cult of self-pursuit.For over 40 years, the message bombarding us that we should "get it all" has created a society of children and teens suffering from empathy deficit. We must face the issue at hand: what will we pass on to our kids? A Legacy of Violence or a Legacy of Light? A third factor is the volatile nature of the adolescent mind Many teens going through puberty are dealing with acceptance issues, peer pressure, problems at home with parents and siblings and the physical changes that accompany the process of becoming a young adult.

All of these circumstances can lead a child towards making bad decisions and turning to violence, even self violence. Hormonal changes during adolescence also increase teen susceptibility to
emotional swings,
sleep changes,
behavior volatility,
argumentativeness and attraction to violence.

Couple this aggression with the challenge of teens trying to find their place in this world, and the combination can lead to school violence.

What Parents Can Do about School Violence”

Take a look at this video on School Violence.

One of the best things we parents can do to prevent our children from contributing to school violence is to make the following goal our number one priority:create and maintain an honest and supportive relationship (even tough love is supportive)with our children!!!

Even when they do not want to talk to us, even when they seem more interested in friends, television or other activities, we need to keep in touch with them.

Always know where they are going, with whom and when they will be returning home. Many children feel that they do not have to divulge this information, but deep down, children do want to know that they are loved and that parents care about their well being.

We need as well to support all school efforts at educating children about violence. Being part of a support staff available to vulnerable kids who want to talk can help us parents monitor the pulse of the school.

Working with our own children on strategies for anger management, teaching them how to defuse anger in peer groups can also help.

More and more, I see these strategies for emotional intelligence becoming an essential part of a child’s education.

This tells us that we can no longer close an eye to the changes in our world. We can no longer ignore school violence.

It also tells us that we need to be proactive about the emotional temperature of our adolescents. Now is the time to cultivate genuine conversation and dialogue with our children, especially our teens.


Kennedy Kelli. "7 Teens Charged with Beating Classmate Unconscious." Yahoo News, January 7, 2012.

When Kids Get Violent: “There’s No Excuse for Abuse”

Disclaimer: The above information is meant only to inform and should never displace professional consultation.

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