Preventing School Violence – Part 3
August 24, 2012
We’ve discussed the initial shooting. And we’ve talked about the warning signs. But did you realize that there are actually attitudes that all schools and even some parents have that will encourage violence in our schools?
I know the incredulous look that you’re giving your computer screen right now. How is that possible you ask? Trust me, it’s very easy and once you read over what I’ve outlined below you’ll understand it a bit better and probably know whether your school or kids are in danger of encouraging some kid who may be on the edge with the warning signs.
NIH (not invented here) – This attitude is very common in schools and it’s not hard to see why. Schools are a place where discipline and order need to be maintained. And the kids are not yet adults. Therefore 99.99999% of all good ideas that come forward from the student body are rejected out of hand. Why?
Because they weren’t invented by the teachers, administration, or district. It is unfortunate but the mentality is we’re the school we know what’s best for the parents and kids – not you. And this goes for suggestions from parents as well.
CHH “can’t happen here” or Ostrich syndrome –This attitude can eventually come around and bounce a school on its tookus. Basically it means that they are too good (in all respects) for anything like that to happen at their school.
So like an ostrich, they stick their head in the sand and hope they don’t get bit in the butt! I can absolutely tell you that this is what happened at North Canyon High School at the first of August. And I have been told by 2 districts in the Phoenix area this quote “We’re fine. We have no need for a seminar. We don’t have those problems!” uh huh.
Communication– It’s the lack of same that causes the issue. Many districts and schools refuse to let teachers share information about troubled students. They refuse to talk to the parents. They refuse to talk to the students.
And even worse this refusal to talk and share information goes beyond the school, until an incident occurs and they are forced to disclose the information.
Unequal enforcement of policies- Whether you realize it or not. Whether the school realizes they’re doing it or not, it is happening. Here’s an example of what I mean from my own experience; A student who was a star wrestler and A student. He never got into trouble for anything. He was friendly, jocular, & always talking to anyone – even the nerdy geeks (like the fat kid –me)
He was caught cutting class and shoplifting at a 7-11 down the street. Did he get into trouble? No. He was told not to do it again and that was that. Now if another student, say a waster or loser, was caught doing the same thing would that have happened? No it wouldn’t. The book would have been thrown at them simply because they weren’t a star student or athlete.
Perceived unequal treatment – This is basically the same thing as above but there is one difference. My old saying of ‘Perception is Reality’ definitely holding true here! If the perception is that someone is being treated differently for some reason over another, then this is where it is an issue. Do some kids deserve different treatment than others? To a certain degree yes. But if they do get different treatment, it’s because they’ve earned it and there can be no debate about what happened. Until some teenager, on the edge, takes exception to the treatment – even if it is justified.
Authoritarian management- Again, this is where a lot of schools can get themselves into trouble. The Joe Clark’s of the world are not welcome anymore in the world. They have become ‘sissified’ by society, districts, and parents. They aren’t allowed to be harsh on the kids anymore.
Therefore if kids see or conceptualize an administrator who is a ‘dictator’ then they will rebel. When they do that they get themselves into even more trouble as a sign of rebelliousness. Does this mean that schools don’t need to have authorities in their midst? Of course they do to keep order, but they have to balance it with everything else. Especially in the overly litigious society we live in!
Stereotyping-When you see a kid come to school with torn jeans, dirty shirt, reddened eyes, and no money for lunch, what’s your first thought? Probably that he is coming from a poor family and needs help. If you see another kid who wears gang colors and other clothes of the culture what do you think?
It is unfortunate, but we all stereotype people, no matter what, How do I know that? Everyone I’ve come into contact with in the business world, except for a very few, didn’t think that I could do anything but take my government check every month and hold my little tin cup on the corner! Even my wife’s best friend and supervisor acts that way most of the time because of what I do for a business. Or worse we discount what they do because we ‘profile’ them.
Now what about parents? There are several ways that parental attitudes can get into the violence act as well. And most parents will never realize it, mainly because of having CHH.
Not My Kid – It’s unfortunate, but many parents have this attitude. Their ‘lil angel’ would never do anything like that wrong. They refuse to believe that their kid may have threatened someone or brought a weapon to school. And if they do believe it, then it is “Well, they had a reason for it. That person…”And at that they’ll make whatever excuses are necessary to get their kid out of trouble.
Living in a Fantasy World – This is akin to CHH. No parent wants to think that anything will ever happen wrong at their kids school. They’ll hide their heads in the sand like an ostrich. Or worse, they’ll ignore the signs of impending danger with kids, friends, and school policies, procedures, & so on.
Continual excuses – Just like the teenager who may be on the edge parents will make constant excuses for their kid’s behavior. In some cases it’s racial/ethnic for them to think that the world is against them. In other respects, it’s their lack of respect for themselves and anyone else. In even other cases it could be they feel guilty about how their kids have been raised – and with single mom’s working 2 and 3 jobs to provide, it’s not hard to understand that they can’t be there to give adequate counsel to their kids.
Send your stories to me and let me know how your schools attitudes or other parents have or possibly affect your child’s school.