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School Violence

What Can I Do about It?

Publication Date:
2/1/2008
Pages:
0
Session(s)
1
Product Type:
Internet Download
Youth Study
Product Number:
TC5012

Columbine . . . Pearl . . . Paducah . . . Virginia Tech. These names have the power to evoke chilling images of adolescent killers roaming school hallways while terrified teenagers frantically seek cover. Yet our fears of school shootings actually are overblown in terms of the statistical occurrence of such horrific events. As shocking as school shootings are, in reality they occur only rarely. School-associated violent deaths account for less than 1 percent of homicides among kids.

But the routine violence that occurs every day in our schools is another story. Much more pervasive and more difficult to get at, these acts of violence constitute a culture of violence that exists in many of our schools. It is characterized by acts of aggression that vary from shoving and hitting to name calling and campaigns of ridicule and bullying to actual gang warfare complete with knives (by far more frequently brought to school than guns), shanks, and other less-conventional weapons.

Conventional wisdom would assert that most violence occurs in inner-city and urban schools, and of course, those schools often are wracked by violence. But affluent suburban schools are not immune either.

In this study participants will define the various groupings in their school(s) and how violence occurs. Scenarios of violence are discussed, and youth work to envision how realistic peacemaking might happen. Isaiah's vision for a peaceful kingdom is discussed, followed by participants imagining what that would look like in their world.

Martha Bettis-Gee is Associate for Child Advocacy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


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