Who’s to blame for school violence?
This is never an easy question to answer. Unless you are a in the media, politicians, & pundits because they are all quick to jump on the bandwagon and blame someone. To them it doesn’t matter who the blame, just blame someone and get their soundbite into the news cycle.
In many instances they will be correct in assigning blame. Yes, the perpetrator is ultimately to blame despite their cries of bullying, harassment, being misunderstood, racism, or whatever. however, in my estimation they still miss the target in actually discovering who allowed these incidents to occur. Because enough wasn’t done to prevent them.
There is enough blame to go around for everyone involved. Everyone? Yes, everyone. It’s not just the school administrators or perpetrators fault. I do blame the administrators of the school and its district, or university system. This is where the majority of the blame falls. The leadership for the school and/or the policies comes from them. If the administrators try to sweep incidents under the rug, then more than likely they will be.
If they decide to ignore the schools policies… Also these administrators don’t contact police if an incident occurs, in many cases. Although with the proliferation of cell phone cameras…
A couple of prime examples of these: Several years ago in the Baltimore School district, a teacher was brutally assaulted by a female student. Severely enough to call for an ambulance. As the paramedics were transporting her out of the school, the student again attacked her. The school administration did not inform the police until the teacher called to press charges and was asked ‘What assault?’
In the Phoenix area, including several cities around Phoenix, it was reported by several news stations that teachers were prohibited from discussing problem students amongst themselves. The superintendents were afraid it would ‘profile’ students who just didn’t like the teacher and lead to violence. It did lead to violence but because of not reporting it to others and administration who usually swept it under the proverbial rug.
From here I can blame the teachers for not reporting unusual or threatening behavior in or around their classroom. The reasoning is three fold:
#1 is the fact that they don’t want to get involved with these incidents and have their school given a black eye for violence.
#2 would be they can become targeted themselves. For the overwhelming number of teachers who are female, that is not a happy prospect, especially if they are trying to teach in an inner city school with gang involvement and limited funding.
#3 they want to see the good in their students. That is a failing, not a legal issue. We should all strive to see the good in people. However, respect, like a paycheck, must be earned. And if a student doesn’t earn that respect, then it won’t be given – no matter how threatening their weapon.
So who else is to blame for the violence in our schools, both real and hoaxes? Let’s take a brief look:
The parents. Yes, in practically every case it is parents that can be blamed for violence. The term ‘helicopter parents’ is the operative word that best suits most of them. They hover over their kids and will swear that their lil angel would never do anything like that! How could we even think about it! We are such horrible people to believe their lil angel could do anything like that!
While these parents like to have the perception they are involved in their kid’s lives, they ignore everything the kids do wrong and blame someone else for what happens. It’s always the administration, district, teacher, ethnic issues, money, and even God for doing this to their lil angel (and yes I’ve heard a few blame the Almighty).
Then there are the ones who have to work 2 jobs or more for their kids support and their habits. Habits such as eating, having a home, clothes, school supplies, and extra-curricular activities. I can’t blame them for that, but I can offer that maybe they need to ask their employer to assist in working around their schedule.
Then comes their friends. These people are the ones who may be closest to the teenager and probably know them better than the parents do, much to the parents chagrin. These kids literally will ignore the warning signs of a friend who is about to ‘Go Columbine’. And if it’s someone they don’t like, then they avoid them all together. In either event they won’t report anything of the sort because they don’t want to be accused of snitching.
Let me leave you with these thoughts:
If school administrators had taken care of a bullying, or other such issue listed above, problem in the past, would the bullied student have turned around and ‘bit the bully’ like a snake?
If the parents had been more involved and communicated better with the teenager would it have happened?
If friends had told someone of their behavior could it still have happened?
The answer is simple. Yes it could but shouldn’t we be trying to do everything in every fashion to prevent more teenagers from being murdered and injured at school?
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear