Why is School Violence Increasing?

school20violence1By Paul Silli

Inquiry Proposal

I am a Nationally Board Certified Social Studies Teacher who works at a middle school with 6th to 8th grade levels, ages 10 to 14, in Urban County, Colorado. Within my schedule I teach a very diverse population of students who range cognitively as well as culturally. For the past two-years because of broadened district boundaries our student body has changed. We have a lot of students who come from different socio-economic situations — and there appears to be a gap in their skills both educationally and in the spoken language (many are Spanish). Through a rigorous effort, I will be researching the causes, trends, and hopefully find solutions to my school’s violence issues. Violence is rising and our current approaches do not seem to be changing matters. Our staff and administration would welcome new methods to decrease violence on campus while maintaining a high quality of education for our students. In the past our school implemented programs to teach our students how to handle themselves as a “deterrent” to violence; it appears the programs were successful, but because of recent budget constraints, we can no longer afford programs such as YES (Youth Empowerment Strategies, video=link) and others…

As I am sure you know school violence is a serious problem. Students often group themselves according to their culture or socio-economic status. Improving the quality of education is difficult without also addressing school violence, since regardless of how good the teachers or curriculum are, violence makes it difficult for students to learn and teachers to teach. For most anti-violence interventions, evidence of effectiveness is either sparse or mixed. Many programs have been imperfectly monitored or evaluated, so few data actually exists. I would like to research the causes – effects, trends, and outcomes of school violence on my campus and attempt to hopefully create a new program to combat the issues (it will need to be helpful & cost efficient). I will be using online surveys (Likert & Shadow) for our student body and staff, interviewing colleagues/administrators, performing Internet research to learn best practices to reduce violence, and other methods to improve our situation.

Note: School violence on my campus wears many faces: It includes gang activity, bullying, intimidation, and assault – just about anything that produces a victim. Violence is mainly perpetrated against students, but sometimes at teachers/staff.

→Any research help or suggestions would be appreciated. Please feel free to comment.


15 Responses to “Why is School Violence Increasing?”

  1. Diane Dyson Says:

    Very interesting – real Action Research.

    The NY Times Magazine had an interesting cover piece a few weeks/months(?!) ago about the Cease Fire project in Chicago. It is showing great outcomes because it is using an epidemiological approach, of getting to the starters and then “spreaders.”

    YES sounds like something that has been successful here in Toronto called SNAP (Stop Now and Plan), which works with grade school kids and teaches them how to deal with their anger.

    I think some interesting research streams would be too look at some of the relational issues you highlighted, how kids relate to each other, how attached they feel to the school or to their peers and teachers. Some work on resiliency looks at this in kids and is a good strength-based approach.

    The Toronto District School Board and our provincial government have been looking at these issues very seriously over the past few years (I’ve blogged about it too). It really in the end comes down to issues of inequality, who’s got and who’s not.

    Remediation for that has to be explicit: the development of common and shared codes of behaviour, opportunities for identity-building, and then exchange.

    You have a challenge! Larger schools are also harder.
    I look forward to further briefs.

  2. gatorball Says:

    Big time thanks for your comments and suggestions, Diane. You are right about this being a Action Research Project. I hope I can find ways to help. 🙂

  3. Derek Randel Says:

    As you know school violence does not just effect students. Teachers being hurt and bullied might sound like something that never happens but it does. In a five year period 1.3 million teachers were victims of non-fatal attacks in school. I have a book out on students and parents bullying teachers and administrators. It is titled Attacking our Educators. The book looks at why, how, where, and what contributes to this issue. It has over 80 solutions addressing school and teacher safety. Problems include:

    1. Lack of trust for educators
    2. lack of parenting skills
    3. Not holding students accountable for their actions
    4. Lack of administrator support for teachers
    5. Lack of teacher training.
    The solutions I write about may give you the material you’re looking for.

  4. Paul Says:

    Thanks Derek for the book suggestion.

  5. elementaryteacher Says:

    I’m guessing it has to do with the city growing; more families with both parents working and less time to attend to the kids; less neighborhood involvement with each other, meaning lack of a close-knit community, and getting worse; fewer consequences being enforced by parents and the community–schools can’t do it alone, they need parental support in enforcing consequences.

    I used to live in the Cherry Creek district, where I grew up, but have lived and taught in the Middle East for 15+ years now.

    One reason I like reading your blog is where you are located! Of course I also enjoy what you write about.

    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas

  6. Paul Says:

    Yes, I totally agree with you about your reasons. There are quite a lot of factors.

  7. Heegreste Says:

    eh… strange, but I agree. thanks ; )

  8. juan cortez Says:

    i have never goten in afight but i have seen fights and i think that there is more violence now

  9. Guadalupe C Says:

    yes i think that school violence is increasing and maybe is cause people dont take things serious

  10. DJ Says:

    School violence is bad

  11. Alex Says:

    school violence is increasing a lot, and what do people do? they cheer on fights, and encourage the bullying and rumors, instead of standing up. Why? So they can be accepted and no rejected by the popular people

  12. Shawnice Says:

    Yes School VIOLENCE is increasing n i as r student will like it o change students now r jus looking 4 confused for no reason !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and ppl ar jus liking their selves cause its fun……………..

  13. Anonymous Says:

    How can i get material for the project


    School Violence is increasing day by day there are so many reasons responsible for it .In my opionion the main reasons are as;1-Banking concept of education.2-Lack of Moral Education.2-Lack or non-functional Guidance and Counselling Cells in educational institutions.3-Not holding educands and educators accountable for their actions.4-Lack of professional ethics among teachers.5-Rude behavor of administrators and politicians towards teachers.5-Less or no emphasis on teacher training programes.

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