Tag Archives: school violence

“Hit A Jew”Day In St. Louis Area School!

Students in the Parkway School District of suburban St. Louis decided it was a fun activity to stage a ‘Hit A Jew” day which one assumes is the manner in which spoiled suburban children get their kicks these days. The incident happened at the Parkway West Middle School in Chesterfield where six graders engaged in what they considered to be fun, hit a Jewish student. Many of the three dozen Jewish students were hit on their bodies and one might have been slapped in the face. Ironically, the madness began when the school had a Spirit Week that included a Hug a Friend day. Next was a Hit A Tall Person day and finally it was the turn of Jewish children to be subject to this blatant stupidity.

As the parent of two children who attended schools in the Parkway School District, I must confess my shock and anger such a thing could occur in the 21st century in a middle class suburban area whose parents work in sophisticated positions. Hopefully, there will be serious discussions in many homes between parents and children about their inexcusable behavior.

Are Schools A Safe Haven For Children?

Tiana Turner, a New Zealander educator, who works with children aged 8 to 16 told local politicians that schools were failing children from families in which “inter-generational abuse” was common. She claims “schools used to be a safe haven. What I have noticed is that school is no longer a safe haven. They(children) go from their homes that are extremely challenging to a school environment that is even worse.” She believes that traditional schoolyard bullying has escalated which increases the difficulty in safeguarding children in schools. She blames the “guielines for schools and teachers have no ability to put in very clea boudnaries to have a safe environment.”

Ms. Turner is most probably correct in that modern guidelines make it more difficult to expel children and as she points out, to do so would only place “young children on the streets getting no education, with not confidence and no self-esteem.” Defenders of school policies insist there are guidelines and things are better than before. Is this an example in which both sides are making valid points?

Ms. Turner and others forget in the “old days” a much higher percent of toubled and difficult children either left school on their own or were permanently expelled. Mass education means all children, difficult or not, are entitled to an education. In post industrial societies, there are fewer job opportunities leading to careers for adolescent youth. The end result is society must confront issues dealing with these children for whom violence is a way of dealing with life itself. Perhaps, the solution also lies in creating an education that has meaning for children.

British Teachers Want Metal Detectors In Schools

Britain’s Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is considering the possibility of placing metal detectors in schools in an effort to halt the presence of knives. More than three fourths of knife crimes are found to occur in the age bracket of 12-20. She is responding to pressure from Head Teachers who believe violence is rising in their schools. According to Chris Huhne, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson, “it is sad schol lscanneers are necessary to stop a small minority of young people from carrying knives. But the number of high-profile stabbings at or outside schools in hot-spot areas for gangs means this is a senisble precaution.”

No student or teacher should fear walking into a school expecting something might occur that threatens their safety. Unfortunately, the American experience is somewhat confusing. A study of killings reveals the vast majority happen in rural or suburban schools which are considered safe places and it is unusual for shootings to occur in urban schools. This has been true even before the installation of metal detectors in urban environments. The issue of school bullying frequently is a trigger that sets off violent behavior. The issue of students feeling neglected or unsuccessful in school work is also a factor. It might pay to focus on the school bullying factor as key to reducing violence in school.