Violence in Schools and Bullying: Shouldn’t we address from different perspective?
There has been no year when we do not hear about a violent incident that occurs in US schools and there are years when we hear about these incidents more than once within the interval of a few months. Casualties most of the times do not fall below the two digits. The damages that result from such assaults are direly appalling. The schools, the educational departments and boards, the city councils, and the state spend much time and money in attempt to heal the psychological impact on the student population and families and analyze these phenomena of mass massacre outbursts that strike our schools.
It is true that all these official authorities join their earnest efforts to fight the violence phenomena on school grounds and in classrooms; yet, their focus fall somehow short. The security and safety systems focus on sketching profiles of potential attackers, tightening security screenings, and introducing last to date metal detectors and security cameras. The school departments and boards, endows social work with wider scopes for practice and initiative and the budgets get bigger to match the expenditures. The psychological damage to the inflicted ones takes the greatest toll and remains persistent notwithstanding the appearances. We should be surprised if in thirty years other incidents happen that link assailants to previous incidents that happened on this school ground or that. My point being that the focus should extend to include the main and most important factor that lead to these catastrophes: Bullying and harassment.
There are certainly many General Laws (federal and state) that prohibit and criminalize bullying on school grounds and on work place; these laws also prohibit cyber bullying that is mostly initiated by classmates and peers, the pounding question is to what extent they are in effect. The bullied teenagers or grownups find themselves in most cases bullied no only t by peers, neighbors or colleagues but by the teachers, coaches and the managing boards as well. People’s coping and mental health are not uniformly the same. A person who finds himself/herself failed by all the systems after having knocked every door and exhausted all reserves of tolerance may lose it and crumble under the pressure. This is definitely not an attempt to justify addressing violence and abuse by violence but rather a way to set off an alarm; and point the obvious. Instead of turning schools into fortresses heavily loaded with systems that can detect who is going to shoot us or shoot our children today we’d better focus on taking complaints against bullying and harassment seriously and never dismiss them as unimportant no matter what the official addressed have at hand from the heresy against this or that. When you go to the doctor’s office, and you complain about a headache no matter how many times you have gone to the same office with the same complaint and no matter how the physical examination and scanners and all the associated workup reveal themselves unremarkable for any disorders, the complaint in each time is taken seriously because every complaint is valid until proven otherwise.
By Jamila Ouriour