Preventing school violence
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Syndicated column from The Parent
[MAY 12, 2006]
Q: We are hearing about school violence --
again. The problem doesn't seem to be going away and there appears
to be a connection with bullying. I am a parent of two boys, one in
elementary school and the other in middle school. I'm concerned
about their safety and also about the learning environment at school
when there are safety concerns. What can I do as just one parent to
help prevent school violence?
Your concern is valid. No one likes to
think about school violence, but recent tragedies remind us all that
we need to pay attention to it. However, parents should keep in mind
that, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice
Statistics, students were more likely to be victims of crime away
from school than at school.
Although we like to think of childhood as a time of innocence, it is
true no longer. Experts call violence a "learned behavior." Most
children learn about violence through the media or through violent
toys. A report in the April 2005 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics
and Adolescent Medicine stated that the more television 4-year-olds
watch, the greater the likelihood that they will become bullies
safety requires parents and schools to work together. Here are some
specific things parents can do:
thinking "It can't happen here." School violence may happen in the
children talk about a school bully, pay attention. Most school
violence involves bullies. If you suspect a bully is harassing
your child -- or that your child may be a bully -- contact the
school and work together.
have guns in your home, lock them up. Keep ammunition in a
separate place, locked with a separate key.
with your children often and keep your nose in their lives. Too
many busy parents have tuned out -- with tragic results.
[to top of second column]
Monitor the television programs
your children watch, and eliminate violent shows. Get the TV out
of their bedrooms. Generations grew up successfully with no
television, and your children will thrive with carefully selected
physical punishment. It encourages bullying by teaching that
violence and being victimized are OK.
your children learn ways to resolve conflicts without violence.
From the very earliest grades, children should be taught how to
disagree respectfully and how to work together to resolve
If you suspect your child may be
a bully, take action right away. Talk with your child about the
behavior you expect. Be a role model. Make it clear that your
family does not tolerate behavior that hurts other people
physically or emotionally.
You may think that you, as just one
parent, can do little to prevent school violence. But ultimately,
individual parents doing their part with their own children right at
home are the only solution that's sure to work.
For more information about helping
children learn or to submit your own question, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
Copyright 2005, The Parent Institute
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful
Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent Institute.