Violence among teens in the U.S. is growing steadily.
According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, school violence is a serious problem. In 2007, the latest year for which comprehensive data were available, a nationwide survey, conducted biennially by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and involving representative samples of U.S. high school students, found that 5.9% of students carried a weapon (e.g. gun, knife, etc.) on school property during the 30 days antedating the survey.
The rate was three times higher among males than among females. In the 12 months antedating the survey, 7.8% of high school students reported having been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once, with the prevalence rate among males twice that as among females.
In the 12 months antedating the survey, 12.4% of students had been in a physical fight on school property at least once. The rate among males was twice the rate found among females. In the 30 days antedating the survey, 5.5% of students reported that because they did not feel safe, they did not go to school on at least one day. The rates for males and females were approximately equal.
The most recent U.S. data on violent crime in which teachers were targeted indicate that 7 percent (10 percent in urban schools) of teachers in 2003 were subject to threats of injury by students. Five percent of teachers in urban schools were physically attacked, with smaller percentages in suburban and rural schools. Other members of school staffs are also at risk for violent attack, with school bus drivers being particularly vulnerable.
"Bullying" refers to verbal, physical, or mental acts committed by a student to harass, intimidate, or cause harm to another student. Bullying may include verbal threats, physical assault, intimidation, or other forms of inappropriate behavior, such as harassment, disorderly conduct, and acts which disturb the peace. Because bullying on school campuses is a growing concern, parents, school districts, and students should be aware of the serious violations and violence that may occur as a result of student bullying, and how it may be addressed.
Anti-Bullying State Laws:
A number of states have passed laws to address intimidation, harassment, and bullying in schools. These "anti-bullying" laws are meant to promote school safety, improve truancy rates, and reduce school violence, among other things. The law specifically requires schools to create certain policies for prevention, training, and enforcement concerning behavior that may lead to bullying. Students who violate anti-bullying provisions face suspension and expulsion; whereas schools and districts may face large monetary fines arising out of civil liability claims.
How to Prevent and Stop Bullying in School:
While many parents may assume that bullying in schools is a problem that occurs in middle or high school, the fact is that schools and parents should take steps to prevent and stop bullying in schools as early as kindergarten and early elementary school. By teaching children about what bullying is and the facts about how and why it is harmful, teachers and parents can set important foundations to stop bullying behavior before it starts.
Bullying Hurts, Physically and Mentally:
What is dating violence?
Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking.
It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner. You may have heard several different words used to describe teen dating violence.
Here are just a few:
* Relationship Abuse
* Intimate Partner Violence
* Relationship Violence
* Dating Abuse
* Domestic Abuse
* Domestic Violence
What are the consequences of dating violence?
As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause short term and long term negative effects, or consequences to the developing teen. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.
Teen Dating Violence
One of the things that can greatly increase the chances of your teenager becoming involved in teen violence is involvement with gangs. Gangs account for a majority of the serious violence in the United States (1), and these gangs are not shy about recruiting teens. The number of youth gangs throughout the U.S. tops 24,500, and the number of teens and young adults involved in gang activity is higher than 772,500 (1). If your teenager is involved with a gang, chances are that he or she is also involved in teen violence.
Warning Signs of Gang involvement:
Sudden changes in clothing worn by your teen, especially if it involves wearing the same color schemes all the time.
A desire to hide activities from you. Changes in who your teen's friends are. Loss of interest in family activities Declining interest in school (including dropping grades) and extracurricular activities.
Having relatively large amounts of money without clear explanation Run-ins with the police and other authority figures Known gang symbols on belongings, including books and clothing.
Teen Gang Involvement Sources: "Youth Gangs," National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center [online]. "Gang Involvement Warning Signs," National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center [online].