This writing seeks to reveal what researchers and authors have unveiled concerning the belief that students who have a sense of connection with adults and/or teachers are more likely to go to them and warn them of a fellow students plan to violate the school community.
Introduction Violence in schools can date as back as when humanity started. This statement simply means that violence can be defined as an occurrence that happens as a result of the imperfections of humanity. However, violence should not be taken as something that can harm the true bond of humanity but one that can be curbed and minimized with the right communication systems. In many cases, violence in schools can be avoided if only fear of attack after reporting violence plots can be curbed.
As study carried out using hypothetical scenarios showed that though some students felt that fear of being punished or attacked would make them not intervene or report a violence plot. High schools are generally larger than middle schools and provide less opportunity for teachers and students to interact, which is the foundation for building trust, caring and community between the two Willenz (2009). Research findings on past occurrences and response levels
In some cases schools have counselors to talk to the students and At the high school level, counselors are part of the staff. However, the average high school counselor has between 350-400 students to advice. This is too many students for the counselor to have a personal relationship with students (Johnson, n. d). However, a good number of students revealed that they would be willing and ready to report violence plots/plans to an adult or teacher if they not only had a good relationship with the adult/teacher and had a sense of belonging and were proud of their school.
The main question would then be: how do schools/teachers create the kind of environment and relationships in schools that would encourage students to report such cases of violence or intervene if they would not pose danger to themselves? Researchers, authors and various front end campaigners have all tried to engage all their efforts towards finding the real and most effective way to curb violence in schools.
Various authors have come to the conclusion that school policies and rules may be so rigid as to cause a gap between adults/teachers and students rather that creating the bond and kind of relationship that would encourage the students to freely speak out and report violence plots by fellow students. In this case the policies and rules would pose more harm to the school and its community more than they would be meant to protect and govern the relationships to create a safe haven for the school communities.
In his article, The A-B-Cs of School Violence, Johnson (n. d) reveals that: Researchers have completed an analysis of 37 school shootings. The research showed that students at school usually knew what would happen because the shooters had told them, but the bystanders didnt warn anyone. This disturbing pattern gives society a brief ray of hope, because this gives teachers time to intervene. If kids tell, teachers or parents might be able to learn what a student is planning before the violence erupts.
In most cases, schools and the community as well as governments have policies and measures meant to curb violence in schools after they occur, but few measures have been put in place to prevent violence incidents before they happen. As much as teachers may be seen as the adults to be reported to incase of a violence plan/plot, in many cases student counselors and parents can be of great importance in enhancing relationships and freedom of expression among students to ensure they would be free enough to go to the adults without fear of being reprimanded or attached by the violators.
Student-teacher relationships have been seen as a great tool that can be used to help curb violence in schools. In order for a teacher to be able to enhance this relationship with the students, there is need for the teacher to ensure that he/she has set forth both academic and behavioral expectations for all students. In addition to school wide codes, each teacher must articulate to students on the first day of class the basic standards of behavior for the class.
Additional standards may be developed with input from the students to reinforce their commitment to the standards Johnson (n. d). For violence in schools to be prevented, students must then be deemed as critical information sources as they get to interact at a closer, personal and individual manner than teachers do. Jimerson & Furlong (2006) add that Students also are an essential source of information and their input into the problem definition undertaking can provide the school safety team with substantial clarification and direction.
Researchers reveal that in some cases students would be comfortable and willing to give information on a fellow student planning to commit a violent offence in or out of the school if children feel safe when expressing their needs, fears and anxieties to school staff (Dwyer et al, 1998, p. 10). Teachers who use cooperative learning, peer helping, cross-age mentoring, and community service facilitate resilience. These strategies create a connection or bond between the student and school, allow for practice with social skills, and decrease students likelihood of engaging in destructive behaviors (Vitto, 2003).
Having constraints with time, demanding curricular, need for great accountability, as well as pressures related to testing, the teachers desires to have and maintain positive and individual/personal relationships with students can be interfered with. In this case the closeness to adults and/or teachers that would encourage students to reports cases of violence before they happen would be reduced. To help counter this challenge, the inclusion of parents as the watchful eye over the students in their communities and schools could help enhance a bond with them as adults and increase the probability of the students reporting violence plans.
Many authors have revealed that Fear of getting into trouble makes students less willing to go to a teacher or principal with their concerns about a peers potentially dangerous plan and more likely to ignore the situation (Willenz, 2009). As Vitto (2003) adds: Unfortunately, many school reform initiatives focus on inadequate solutions, such as vouchers, increased testing and accountability, year-round schooling, harsher punishments, and zero-tolerance policies.
These solutions are shortsighted and ignore critical factors such as the importance of positive teacher-student relationships and the development of social-emotional competencies and resilience (p. 5). As many researchers have proven, finely operated schools nurture not only their academic but also safety and generally appropriate behaviors that help support students in attaining high standards, cultivate constructive relationships among school teachers, staff and students, and uphold significant parental and societal involvement.
These promotes positive cohesion characteristics in schools, enhances prevention and suitable intervention as well as effective response from students in case of a response in reporting plans by fellow students to commit violence related offences. For all students, Syvertsen et al. said, knowing they could voice their opinions and be heard by a school official along with their sense of belonging how they and their friends fit into the school culture best predicted whether they would confront the peer themselves or tell an adult (Willenz, 2009).