Essay Example on Causes of School Violence

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George Washington University
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School violence is a major issue of concern in the contemporary society. This is probably due to the increased rates of crime in schools all over the world. Although school violence is a global issue, the US is the most affected with many reported cases of the vice. Others go unreported. According to research, the US tops the list in the rates of school violence with 11% of US schools experiencing serious violence-related problems as at 2015 (Ilie 286). This is unfortunate. According to the report Ilie, the average scale of school violence is 15%; and this means that there is a serious problem in the American schools (288). School violence comes in various forms. It involves bullying, vandalism, theft, sexual and physical abuse, shooting or any other kind of abuse that threatens or disrupts the conducive environment in a school setting (Gerler 2). There are various causes of school violence. Most of the violence in schools is created by the students themselves. This paper examines the various causes of violence in schools.

One of the leading causes of school violence is the availability of weapons at school. Some students carry guns, knives and other sorts of weapons to school. This means that if they are provoked or wish to use weapons against others, the weapons are at their disposal. Unfortunately, students commonly carry weapons to school ostensibly to protect themselves against abusive students and teachers. The ugly incident that occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 is a case in point. In the incident, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot twelve students and a teacher to death and injured twenty-three others in the school compound (Warnick et al. 373). Research shows that students are likely to become extremely violent if there are weapons at their disposal. Weapons in a school setting are symbolic of violence, and violence begets violence. If the two Columbine High School students, for example, did not have guns, they would not have fired the bullets that killed and injured people. This demonstrates that the availability of weapons is a major cause of violence in schools.

Another cause of violence in schools is depression and the anxiety associated with it. Many American children undergo traumatic situations such as neglect, bullying at school, the pressure to post high grades and other psychologically draining experiences (Meyer-Adams & Conner 212). As a result, they ventilate their trauma through violence. In America today, many parents are so busy that they have no time for their children. These children feel unaccepted, and as they grow up, they develop an arrogant attitude towards others, especially if they engage in minimal physical activities (Demissie 709). It will, therefore, take the slightest provocation for such a child to turn violent. The excessive assignments and school workload are also working against the psychological stability of students. Additionally, the rampant bullying in schools has made many students feel depressed and develop the urge to revenge. Investigations into the shooting incident at the Columbine High School, for example, showed that the two culprits were depressed due to the overwhelming school work and bullying from their classmates (Warnick et al. 377). The anxiety associated with this depression is probably what made them go on the rampage, shooting anyone in the vicinity. Depression among students is, therefore, a major cause of violence in schools.

Additionally, external influence makes a student violent. Some students become violent due to influence from peers and the media. According to research, peer pressure and the media are some of the most influential aspects of young peoples behavior. 62% of young people are likely to yield to peer pressure while 48% will try to imitate what they get from the media as they think it is cool (Demissie 706). If a young person regularly hangs out with bad company, they will adopt bad behavior as they endeavor to look like the rest for them to be accepted in the clique. If the peers are violent, a young person will find no fault in being violent too. Also, the current generation is exposed to a range of media. Young people can easily access the internet, electronic and print media. The Internet, particularly the social media, has provided a platform for youth to learn all about violence and to some extent, it seems to glorify acts of violence (Ilie 290). This makes the young think that to be violent is cool; hence, will tend to put it into practice at school. Furthermore, some cinemas and television shows depict violence, bloodshed, and gore with such relish that the young ones admire these acts of violence and want to practice them on their counterparts at school. It is important to note that most students are at their formative stage, and it is at this stage when they are highly prone to external influences. This is because most of them are not sure of what to do or how to react in various situations. In that case, misleading media and peer pressure will influence them into acts of violence.

On the other hand, some people have often disputed the existence and causes of violence in schools. Some people have been made to believe that most students are not involved in school violence since it comprises a few students who fight among themselves. According to a survey carried out by Gerler in over a hundred schools across the world in 2005, 22% of high school students knew fellow students who brought guns to school. it also showed that 53% feared that a shooting incident, such as the one that happened at Columbine High school in 1999, could occur in their schools (3). Interestingly, 76% of the surveyed students said that they felt safe at school. This may have been good news then, although the fact that there was the likelihood of violence could not be disregarded. Also, the survey showed that only 37% resulted in violence as a result of peer influence, and other factors including anxiety (Gerler 2). This is, however, not a reason to celebrate. Today, violence in schools is a rampant vice that cannot be ignored. Deaths associated with violence in schools between 1992 and 2015 had increased by 23% (Ilie 287). This information means that although some people still consider school violence a non-issue in America, it is still widespread and has various causes.

In conclusion, it is clear that school violence is quite prevalent in the US. Some of the causes of this violence include influence from peers and the media, depression, and anxiety, and the availability of weapons in schools. Although some people refute the seriousness of school violence, its prevalence is not a secret. The authorities and policy makers ought to come up with more practical solutions to school violence so as to protect innocent students and school fraternities. Only then, will any death associated with the behavior be prevented.



Demissie, Zewditu, et al. "Associations of school violence with physical activity among US high school students." Journal of physical activity and health 11.4 (2014): 705-711.

Gerler, Edwin R. "Research on school violence across the world". Journal of School Violence 4.1 (2005): 1-3. Htttp://doi:10.1300/j202v04n01_01

Ilie, Gabriela, et al. "Possession of weapon and school violence among adolescents and their association with history of traumatic brain injury, substance use and mental health issues." Injury 48.2 (2017): 285-292

Meyer-Adams, N., and B. T. Conner. "School violence: bullying behaviors and the psychosocial school environment in middle schools". Children & Schools 30.4 (2008): 211-221. http://doi:10.1093/cs/30.4.211

Warnick, Bryan R. et al. "Gun violence and the meaning in American schools". Educational Theory 65.4 (2015): 371-386. Wiley-Blackwell, http://doi:10.1111/edth.12122


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