SCHOOL VIOLENCE: FORMS, CAUSES AND PREVENTION
School violence is defined as the threat or the use of force with the intention of causing harm, either at school or during school-related activities. It refers to all forms of violence that take place in and around schools experienced by students and perpetrated by other students, teachers and other school staff. School violence can take the following forms: Physical violence which is any form of physical aggression with the intention to hurt and perpetrated by peers, teachers or school staff.
It can also be in form of sexual violence which includes intimidation of a sexual nature, sexual harassment, unwanted touching, sexual coercion and rape. It is perpetrated by a teacher, school staff or a schoolmate or classmate.
Another form is psychological violence as verbal and emotional abuse, which includes any form of isolating, ignoring, insults, spreading rumours, making up lies, ridicule, humiliation and threats and other psychological punishment.
Bullying is another form of violence. It is an intentional or aggressive behaviour occurring repeatedly against a victim. Bullying can take various forms such as physical bullying (hitting, kicking and destruction of property). It can also be psychological such as (insulting and threatening).
School violence is a multi-faceted social ill and may be caused by diverse reasons, one of which is the intake of hard substances such as drugs and alcohol abuse. Students, school staff or members of society who are intoxicated tend to use control of their inhibitions and often act in an irrational manner. Hence, the effects of drug on the human body can serve as a catalyst to school violence.
Another cause of school violence may be personality problems. Shyness, for instance, may cause a student to feel out of place amongst his peers, thereby influencing him to be rebellious or try to get noticed by any means. Such behaviour may result in bullying or gang fight.
Furthermore, school violence can be as a result of media. The impact of violent television programs and video games is largely underestimated in society. Children/teenagers often emulate their favourite television characters in action movies and this leads to learned violent behaviour in schools.
Another cause may be due to psychological deficiencies created by dysfunctional homes. Worry, hatred, inferiority complex, anger and other negative emotions which fuel violent behaviour could develop in people when they are exposed to poor parenting or disaccord among family members. Also, in homes where parents/guardians display violent behaviour, children /wards usually adopt violence as a way of asserting authority.
Having identified some causes of school violence, it is pertinent to proffer solutions to these social ills. The school should set up disciplinary measures that the perpetrators of the act will face if they fail to abide by the institution’s rules and regulations. There should also be up-to-date security measures in schools to ensure that students are properly searched and stripped of any kind of weapon before entering the premises. There is a need to engage students in awareness campaigns. Students should be enlightened and counselled on anger management, conflict resolution and other topics that deal with the psychological issues associated with school violence.
Parents are not left out; they should ensure that the atmosphere at home where the child is nurtured is violence-free. Parents should bear in mind that teenagers are impressional, and as such, they tend to adopt their behavioural standard from what is obtainable in their household. Proper monitoring of the association that students keep is a means through which the problem of school violence can be solved. Parents can also monitor the kind of television programs and videos their wards are exposed to.
In summary, the government and non-governmental organizations should set up a body to reach out to students and other youths in order to properly address issues of drug abuse, social anxieties and other forms of mental affective disorders. The government should update statistical data on school violence in order to further enlighten the general public about the menace.
School violence is a social problem with an enormous ripple effect. One act of violence can trigger numerous negative outcomes. Hence, the community is expected to work as a whole in order to curb this social ill.