The Causes and Effects of School Violence


High school students being bullied.

Daniella Hosack, Senior Staff Writer

As students prepare for school everyday, in addition to tests, peer pressure, intense sport practices and friendship issues, they now worry significantly about school violence.  “In a study of the class of 2000, CBS News found that, while 96 percent of students felt safe in school, 53 percent said that a shooting was possible in their school. 22 percent of students knew classmates who regularly carried weapons to campus.”  In an institution where safety was almost always a given, perceptions and reality have greatly changed, and not for the better.   

Many forms of school violence occur in every high school, whether it is in the form of physical or emotional violence. Standard fights aren’t the only form of violence that exist in a school community, as verbal bullying and cyberbullying are thriving with today’s teens. A majority of students face these conflicts at least once in their high school career, and there is little one can do to prevent them. The causes and effects are endless, but there are some common factors in these situations.

The causes of some of these conflicts can be rooted to social background, aggressive traits, poor family stability, academic underachievement, peer-related causes, and/or negative community factors, states sources.  The causes of aggressive situations in school can range from bad grades to a deeply rooted psychological problems. Many of the causes of these fights are miniscule. Brooke Myer, sophomore, stated: “The causes for fights don’t usually matter after a week.  I’m not sure why a student would risk having disciplinary action taken against them over something that will soon be irrelevant.” Sometimes, the cause of a fight could be affected by a previous fight. Toshe Stone, junior, shared: “If one fight occurs, surely another fight will follow.”  Many of the arguments that are seen on tv and in reality are started from a misunderstanding or an unneeded opinion. These fights can lead to long lasting effects.

Unfortunately, the effects of these struggles can sometimes be irreversible and irreparable.  Some of these confrontations ruin peoples’ self-esteem for a very long time and severely damage their mental state. Some will turn to violence or harmful substances. Some may even commit suicide or suffer from mental disorders like depression or anxiety. Others might hold grudges or eventually let the bad feelings pass after observation and thought; the possibilities are endless. Grace Ryser, senior, commented, “Personally, I’ve been called fat and all that online, and thankfully, I’m able to not take it to heart and make a joke of it, but I think people need to watch what they say. Not everyone is like me in this situation, and that’s alright, but that’s why cyberbullies need to watch; you never know what someone is truly going through.”  The effects will likely never be positive after one of these confrontations.

After these fights occur, some view the school body’s response positively while some view it negatively.  Some students believe more can be done about these situations, especially by their peers. Nader Kassem, senior, said, “We do nothing to prevent fights again.  Everyone says that they want to stop these fights and that something must be done, but no one ever takes action.” Other students believe that there is nothing the student body can do, and that there isn’t much more to do. Freshman Allison Hodge shared, “It is a smart idea to suspend the students involved because it gives them a chance to cool down.  I strongly believe that if one student is severely harmed by another, the attacker should have to pay the victim’s expenses.” 

Many school shootings often can be prevented if someone is watching or paying attention to signs of mental illness on the part of the perpetrator.  According to an online article by Dr. Peter Langman, “Rampage school shooters typically reveal their violent intentions through their talk with peers, their school assignments, their online behavior, and/or their interactions with their parents.” Counselors and teen peers need to be more aware of these warning signs and address them immediately and consequently.  

School violence is prevalent in every school anymore, and initiative must be taken when the time is right; that time is now. Otherwise, students, teachers, counselors and administrators are all at fault and must share in the blame.