With the occurrence of multiple homicides on school campuses during the 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 academic years-such as in Springfield, Oregon and Littleton, Colorado-there has been a growing public perception that an increasing number of students may “go Off” at any time and cause serious harm to themselves and/or others. In response to this perception, school administrators, lawmakers, and prosecutors have recently “cracked-down” on juvenile violence. Metal detectors, security guards and police, crisis drills, “zero tolerance” discipline policies, and alternative programs for aggressive children are now found in many schools that previously saw little need for such measures. Several stats now require that children who commit violent crimes be tried as adults. Lawmakers have also proposed school prayer, mandatory student uniforms, mandatory use of “ma’am” or “sir” when responding t teachers, and the school-wide posting of the Ten Commandments as partial solutions to the widely perceived rising tide of school violence. Although well intended, too often such “solutions” have been misguided, based on little, if any, empirical research supporting their effectiveness in preventing school violence and promoting children’s mental health.
Bibliography: Bear, G. G., Webster-Stratton, C., Furlong, M. J., & Rhee, S. 2000. In K. M. Minke, & G. G. Bear, (Eds.), Preventing school problems-Promoting school success (1-69). MD:NASP.