• 57°

School violence a society problem

To the editor,

The overall educational response to the past school shootings is so serious it must be approached from the offensive standpoint instead of from a defensive approach. The educational system must remain more focused on prevention of a school shooting and use proactive actions instead of just primarily a defensive approach. Clearly, assault type weapons and high capacity magazines are clearly deadly weapons of war. So, maybe state legislature can assist our schools by taking meaningful action on gun violence prevention within schools.

It is my opinion that just like school violence in general, school safety and/or prevention must manifest or start at home, after school hours. Sure, schools must provide a safe and secure learning environment for all students but the home life is of the utmost importance in preventing school violence. Metal detectors and emergency door only exits with alarms on all exterior doors are a few good ideas for dealing with a concerted effort to prevent the problem. Also, the idea of training and arming a few right and willing teachers (or bus drivers) with a firearm is a possibility worth exploring. However, there is much more to that than simply a teacher arming themselves with a weapon safely throughout the average school day.

School safety or prevention can and should consist of a supporting curriculum which is built upon teacher/student relationships for all students. Teachers and especially school administrators need to know their students, which admittingly is more difficult in a larger school setting. Therefore, the entire school staff should be encouraged to be visible and interact with each other and ALL students. The entire staff should be challenged to get to know a different student each day and better yet, the student can get to know them.

In most cases, bullying can and should be reported to the school faculty and then always to the administration. Parents should never advocate school violence for their own children; all children should know to report possible bullying to the appropriate school authority. After all, isn’t that essentially the way it is in the adult everyday world? Therefore, as we prepare our children for everyday life in general, we shouldn’t encourage our children to take the law, or in this case rules regarding bullying, into their own hands.

Also, I understand that some students need additional support and increased access to mental health services. In my professional opinion, a high-quality preschool, nurse-family partnerships to aid first-time mothers and children-parent centers for preschool-aged kids all reduce violent conduct as their beneficiaries grow up. Home visits meant to discourage child abuse work at reducing depression. So, just making sure kids grow up healthy and well-educated yields dividends in terms of violence prevention and mental illness avoidance.

Now, a society’s prevention as a whole to school violence is the key! This to me obviously starts with parenting. Parents are responsible for their children. Therefore, parents can be held accountable and liable for their children’s actions. I don’t want to say that every time a child does something wrong, a parent must be held responsible or be blamed. However, I can’t help to believe that a system that focuses its attention for kids’ failings everywhere but at home, is a failing system in the tragic end. It is not unheard of to hold others liable when a driver drinks at someone’s home or business and then kills someone while driving drunk. So then, perhaps being an irresponsible parent by having an unlocked, access to loaded guns in a home with a child under 18 should be a crime as well. Parents and legit gun owners need to be just as responsible.

In closing, it is also my personal opinion that we should include God first or before school violence occurs instead of after such tragic school shootings. I am optimistic but in reality, we may never be able to totally fix the problem of our society because it has essentially tied it’s hands and is blind to the Truth. Perhaps all families need to get to know their children better, talking about prayer more and a little less about guns.

C. Travis Sutton, BA, MA, EdS, EdD

Cumberland Gap, Tennessee