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What Makes Children Turn to Violence?

School violence is a tremendous problem facing today?s youth. There are many factors that can contribute to violent actions in schools. Some are child abuse, violence in the home, poverty, easy access to guns, violence in television, and drug and alcohol abuse. The major cause of violence is none of the above, but harassment from others. Many people feel as if they need to result to violence as a result of these negative influences they have received from others as they were growing up. Some people claim that it is the parent?s responsibility to make sure that their children are disciplined, but that is not always the case. Those troubled children feel as if they need to release the bottled up emotions that they have felt, so violence towards others seems to be the only method of escape for them from the derogatory implications from others.

In high school, many forms of harassment are noticed. Verbal Harassment is the one that is most common. It is a highly influential method of convincing others that they are inferior. People feel that they are less of a person just because of what other say to them. But these ?put-downs? can be very effective in making someone feel terrible about themselves. The people who torment others are commonly referred to as bullies. They have a tendency to degrade others either by forms such as name calling, teasing, threatening, hitting, or stealing. Bullying is a major problem that has many negative effects on the wellbeing of students and on their right to learn in a safe environment. ?Bullying can also have negative lifelong consequences?both for students who bully and for their victims. Studies have established

Parker, 2

that approximately 15 percent of students are either bullied regularly or are initiators of bullying behavior. Direct bullying seems to increase through the elementary school years, peak in the middle school/junior high school years, and decline during the high school years. Although direct physical assault seems to decrease with age, verbal abuse appears to remain constant. School size, racial composition, and school setting (rural, suburban, or urban) do not seem to be distinguishing factors in predicting the occurrence of bullying. Finally, boys are more likely than girls to engage in bullying behavior and to be the victims of bullies,? (Banks, Dealing with Bullies).

There are many ways to tell if someone you know is being harassed, either by a bully or someone just plain mean. If any of these are noticed, serious help should be considered immediately, for if not, the lives of the children are at stake.

 Detachment: A lack of bonding to others.

 Withdrawal or perceptions of hopelessness.

 Threats and efforts to establish the means and opportunity to carry them out.

 Significant changes in behavior, appearance, etc.

 Disciplinary problems in school and/or delinquent, criminal activity in schools or communities.

 Unusual interest or preoccupation with weapons, bombs, or violent “entertainment” forms (music, movies, etc.)

 Abuse of animals, suicide threats (or attempts), self mutilation, etc.

Parker, 3

As far as I am informed, there is no method to stop bullies. They will continue to torment others until someone convinces them that it is wrong. That is not easy to do either. If someone notices a bully in his/ her school, they should immediately inform a teacher, principal, guidance counselor, or anyone else that might be able to offer some help. If these tormented children are not helped, then later on they might try to do something drastic. They will try to become bullies themselves, and in turn, put the lives of other children at risk.

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