The school shooting incidences have been characteristic in the past few years, a thing that was rarely herd of in the past. This has left many questions unanswered as parents, guardian, the political class, and the society at large is left scratching the head for answers. In the past twenty years or so, school shooting incidences have been rampant in American schools and what is surprising is the fact that most of these incidences have involved fellow students killing their schoolmates.
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When an adult participates in the killing of children it is considered as a terrible tragedy and it is even worse when a child engages in the killing of fellow children. School shooting is particularly horrendous particularly when it should be considered that this is the place where the children should be feeling relatively safe. When the shooting happens in the school setting, then it dents the belief that people have in such places.
This paper shall seek to explore the school shooting incidents as they happen in the society. Background: It is no surprise that the nation’s attention has been generated by juvenile violence in public schools over the last two decades. School shooting has been experiences in many parts of United States and this has been a unique teen violence which is unexpected, senseless and insidious. The teen crime has led to deaths of many students, teachers and workers within the school compound.
School shooting is different from other violent acts committed by youths such as drug dealers or organized gangs (Schiller David, 1999). The many factors that lead to school shooting are categorized into physical, learned and behavioral factors (Randy & Mark, 2009). There are various causes of school shooting incidents which include from abusive, dysfunctional backgrounds; psychopaths; and those who are mentally ill and suffering from delusions, hallucinations; or paranoia among other causes.
Generally, those involved in school shooting incidences are found to be young males of about twenty; those from troubled home life; suffering from mental problems; those addicted to psychotropic drugs; bully victims; those with poor academic performances; social fringes; and those with emotive disorders (Cornell, 2006). Prevention of school is the role of school administrators, parents, students themselves, government and experts in legal matters. Some of the appropriated measures necessary to stop school shooting include first, proper communication with students by well trained individuals and staff.
Second, close monitoring of students by teachers to analyze whether a change of behavior will help to curb the problem. Implementation of appropriate programs for bullies and mental health students aimed at correcting the situation (Cornell, 2006). Factors contributing to school shooting: The factors contributing to school shootings are suggested in social and behavioral science studies. These factors may be generally categorized into three main categories which include social, biological and psychological factors.
These factors may lead to the development of mental illness, depression feelings, suicidal tendencies, and mixed personality disorders. Other factors contributing to school shootings may include, but not limited to; underachievement; teasing; Paranoid fears; Voices; Peer encouragement; media encouragement; availability of guns (Cornell, 2006). In the late 1990s the incident of killing at Virginia Tech dragged public attention on mental health policy in the country. The former president Bush also played an important part in the story.
The Virginia tech culprit had received psychiatric evaluation in 2005, but there was no any sign of threat to public. Even if the psychiatric evaluations were shared with the relevant authorities there were some other aspects which could not have helped such as Virginia did not ban him from owning a gun. There are also mother signs that can be used to identify culprits such as sign such as, stalking, and setting fire in a dorm among others. The incident at Virginia provoked a long debate on how the leaders of society can identify such illness before it is too late (Randy & Mark, 2009).
Having access to firearms is one of the leading causes of the school shooting scenario. However; all other causes happen with varying frequency and intensity as per individual case. In the late 1990 various groups and individuals believe that the school shooting is primarily the result of easy access to guns, including the culture that glorified gun use. It is obvious that when the children have an easy access of firearms, they are likely to misuse it because they pay little attention to what the tragedy that the firearm can cause.
It is important for parents to ensure that their firearm is kept out of reach from the young children (Randy & Mark, 2009). Bullying has also been identified as one of the possible causes of school shooting violence. There are different opinions regarding what type of abuse to be considered as bullying in school. Nevertheless, bullying may refer to various activities including physical abuse; taunting; and exclusion from groups, pastimes, among other activities. Bullying is one of the causes of school violence, and it may lead to massive violence if allowed to escalate.
As a consequence, the bullied student feels half way, isolated, weak, humiliated, and as a slave of the bullies. Since most children always take matter into their hands, victims of bully may resort to violence in an effort to take revenge on the perpetrators. However, some bullying victim who cannot afford to get access to harmful weapon usually end-up committing suicide. Therefore, to keep children safe, and offer them a better education possible it is vital to pay much attention on subject of bullying and the harm it can cause (Oilchange. com, 2010) Prevention of School Shootings in the United States:
Dewey Cornell, Ph. D- Website: youthviolence. edschool. virginia. edu). Depression, suicidal tendencies, and mixed personality disorder Those who suffer from depression and those who are undergoing clinical treatment mostly like to committed suicide or attempt to suicide in most cases. And this is the worst sceneries for deliquesces who do not even hang on depression for just a minute. There is evidence that the study of literature dealing with the relation between suicidal behavior and mental illness stated the fact that most authors such as Roy, 1986; Schutter et al. 996, Wolfersdorf & Felber 1995 are experts in the fields of depression research and therapy and only few have examined suicidal tendencies in connection to schizophrenia.
The suicidal ideas may appear as well in healthy person, but it does acquire a pathological status if they happen in the context of illness, for an example physical or depression illness (Shafii, M. & Shafii, S. L. , 1992) Incidences of school shooting in the United States: School violence in the United States is not a new thing only that in the recent past, the school shooting incidences have become more often than in the past.
Many parents and other stakeholders are not aware of how many incidences that have happened in the history of the United States involving school shooting. Before the year 1995, school shooting incidences were not frequent and rarely led to multiple deaths. History has it that the first school shooting incident occurred in San Diego, California in 1979 where a 17 year old Brenda Spencer shot at a school across the street from her home using a rifle killing two men who were trying to protect the school children.
In 1987, in Missouri, a 12 year old Nathan Ferris who was fed up with being teased carried a gun to school and shot the student who tried to tease him before shooting himself (Chaplain Fellowship Ministries International Inc. , 2010). The 1990s decade saw an upsurge in the shooting incidents where it begun in Giles County, Tennessee in 1995 a 17 year old Jamie Rouse carried a firearm to school and shot two teachers killing one and a fellow student only for his gun to be snatched away before he shot the school’s soccer coach. In the year 1996, Moses Lake, Washington, 14 year old Barry Loukaitis attacked his schoolmates and killed a teacher.
The 1990s has witnessed a series of school shooting incidences which climaxed towards the turn of the millennium where in 1999, Littleton Colorado, there was an unforgettable shooting incident at the Columbine High School. The shooting involved an 18 year old Eric Harris and his counterpart a 17 year old Dylan Klebold who killed twelve students and a teacher before ending their own lives. As this was not enough, the shootings have continued into the 21st century as there have been shooting incidences being reported from allover the American schools.
What happened at Virginia Tech in the year 2007 shall remain to be the most horrendous of incidences that have involved school shooting. In this historical incident, a 23 year old Cho Seung-Hui shot 32 students before shooting himself dead to set a new record in school shooting to stand at 33 deaths (Chaplain Fellowship Ministries International Inc. , 2010). Impacts of school shooting to society The psychological effect of school shooting is by creating the public fear, especially student’s fear of falling victims of a shooting incident in the school environment.
The school shooting goes against school crime policies decision because it more often biased toward punitive policies. School shooting also is a threat to public health and welfare. Different set of individuals have had different perception in regard to school shooting incidences (Jimerson & Furlong, 2006). Students’ parents usually have an important role to play when it comes to school shootings. Since parents cannot always assume that their children will do the right things, there are some procedural measures that need to be taken when it comes to child/children and school violence.
But in some instance, no parent wants to believe that their child/children would be capable of committing crime. Much on the contrary, it is unfortunate that the very children who are being shielded from evil doing are the same that engage in these shooting incidences when least expected. Therefore, it is important to look at parent’s role in school violence. It begins from the victim parent to offender parent of students who are more harmful to peers in school (Jimerson & Furlong, 2006). The public is emphasizing the need for increase in the punishments directed towards delinquencies criminal.
They managed to use the school shootings incident to reinforce their argument. In connection with the desire of politicians, it became in the light of evidence why they happen to have a great interesting in promoting toughest law surrounding teenagers. An increasing penalty toward delinquencies is neither a loss nor win-situation. The politician arguably, relied on the school shootings to detract from some other issues happening in the society. The example of this could be seen from the former president Bill Clinton who went as far as holding a press conference over school shooting incidences (Burns, 1999).
The media plays an essential role in the public perception of school shootings as a social problem. The media present the effect surrounding the school shooting and social discourse surrounding youth and teenagers in the decade before rampage shootings. These aspects are widely discussed through the media. The news media coverage on the matter is intense. Glassman (1998) was of the view that when it comes to shooting incidence coverage, the media seizes the opportunity to cover the matter which presumably personally affects a large section of the population (Burns, 1999).
Steps to reduce school shooting incidences: There was a thought that school shooting can be prevent if the teachers, and school staff in general are allowed to inspect the students and conceal any weapons that may have been carried by the students. Primarily, it should be the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children are not accessible to dangerous weapons. The danger posed by the mentally suffering students is well exemplified by the Virginia Tech incident where Cho Seung-Hui, was a psychopath who was not to be allowed to mix with other students.
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There are several ways to curb the rampant school violence. First since children are not able to differentiate between right and wrong, it should be the duty of the parents to inform them. The children should be informed of possible behavior that can give them trouble if they chose to stray. There are various steps that can be used to curb school violence incidences including conflict resolution methods. The schools can help by conducting conflict management lessons which can be handy in reducing violence tendencies amongst students (Jimerson & Furlong, 2006).
Conclusion: School shooting incidences have been on the rise in the recent past. The American society is greatly worried of the trend and thus there is a need for the stakeholders to device a way to handle the menace. Counseling in schools needs to be taken seriously to offer guidance to the youth who are not mature enough to differentiate right from wrong on their own. However, this requires concerted efforts from the parents, the teachers and the community at large to ensure that incidences of school shooting are gotten rid of or kept on the low at worse.
The ugly incident at Virginia Tech and many other small incidences have to get us worrying of what is happening at what is presumably a safe environment for the children. There is need to share psychiatric information from specialists to be able to address the problem of mixing psychopath students with the others to reduce the dangers posed by such individuals. Addressing the school violence has presented a great challenge to the school authority and the society at large.
http://www. chaplain-ministries. com/school_violence. html
http://www. nssc1. org/conflict-resolution-programs-for-school-violence. html