Violence At School
Violence has become an increasing problem in the school systems. In the past few
years there has been numerous incidents involving violence and/or aggression
around the United States; from a few years ago in Springfield, Oregon to just
six months ago in Littleton, Colorado. Violence is a learned behavior, causing
commitments to moral behavior and people's ability to enforce and encourage
positive, non-violent ways to deal with conflict and anger (Elliot 1A). Kids do
not turn violent overnight, nor do they not have previous problems of some type.

Aggressive behavior can be attributed to a number of things and expressed in a
number of ways through home-life, culture, and society. Many of the kids who
have committed violent crimes have had problems since the age of five. It is
extremely hard to say what leads kids to horrible acts such as Springfield and

Columbine. One reason may be aggressive behavior in childhood, caused by harsh
and inconsistent parents. A poor family life often leads to trouble in school
from the very beginning. The best thing to do for such troubled children is to
help them control their aggression through emotional growth and learning.

Parents should encourage good behavior or the child will think this way is
ineffective. As the child grows older they will continue to think that violent
behavior is acceptable and is the most effective way. A teacher can step into
these situations and help them see positive morals and realize their actions are
wrong. Teachers should reward students for polite behavior or else they will
feel frustration and failure. Frustration and failure can bring the child to
aggressive behavior as it brings results and gives a sense of control. There are
studies that show how to help students understand and control aggression. Most
students with poor peer relations and much aggression were raised with lack of
supervision, inconsistent discipline, and abusive treatment, and they were not
taught good social behavior. According to the article, "Aggressive behavior
in childhood," in the British Medical Journal there are five elements to
shaping a child's actions. First of all, it is important to interact with the
student and have good times with them. Secondly, rewarding good behavior will
encourage more frequent occurrences of the behavior, even if it is the littlest
thing such as being quiet and attentive to the teacher. Next, it is also
important to give clear rules and expectations of your class. They must be
constant, firm, and brief. Also, just telling a student not to do something will
not be as effective as telling them specifically what to do instead. Another
important element is to give consistent and calm consequences for misbehavior.

Teachers should not make too many threats that are usually not carried out, or
the student will learn to not respect authority. Lastly, teachers need to plan
ahead for each activity they take the student to. If the class is going on a
field trip or an activity that will not interest the student, it is helpful for
him/her to have a book, assignment, or something that will be of equal enjoyment
for them to do. Culture and society have the biggest impact on aggression in
students. They include beliefs about violence and aggression, norms governing
conflict resolution, child-rearing emphases, availability of role models, and
emphasis placed on competitions and individual goals instead of group goals. In
societies such as Mexico and Korea, students are taught to get along with
others, avoid conflicts with other people, and work toward group rather than
individual goals. In societies like the United States, students are taught to
stand up for themselves and fight aggression with aggression. Parents who are
rejecting, lacking in affection, do not care how their children express their
aggression, and use physical punishment, often raise aggressive students.

Students also learn by imitation, so if the parents other adults, or older
students act aggressively, the student most likely will behave the same way.

When a peer displeases the student, they will do what their parents do to them
when they are displeased. Along with parenting techniques, culture and society
influence a child's aggression level greatly. American students tend to be
aggressive because of the emphasis their society places on competition and
individuality. The important thing to remember is that students are imitators. A
child does not learn aggression on his/her own. As future teachers, we need to
be instilling positive morals for our students and help them act appropriately
in and out of the classroom.


British Medical Journal. "Aggressive behavior in childhood." June

1994: 37-56. Elliot, Delbert S. "How Could This Happen?" The Denver

Post 24 April 1999