SAFE SCHOOLS: Preventing School Violence NYS Mandatory Training

Overview of the Concept of Violence

Overview of the Concept of Violence

Statistics Related to School Violence

Reducing School Violence

Specifics of New York State SAVE Legislation




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Violence is a very broad concept; it permeates most aspects of our society.  At least in part because it is so widespread and pervasive, it feels like an overwhelming subject to tackle.  It is ubiquitous in our culture. Violence occurs in the home, in schools, at the workplace; it occurs in private and it occurs in public. It can be ongoing and personal; it can be random.  Violence has become a form of entertainment for some in our culture, for example in the entertainment industry.  Violence can be viewed on a continuum from death and overt physical aggression to less obvious methods that can include emotional abuse such as teasing or belittling, to more subtle forms of shunning, exclusion, etc. Violence in our schools reflects the violence that occurs throughout our society.

Violence is an ongoing reality for many in our society, including children, who are among the most vulnerable in the population. Violence occurs on the interpersonal level with all forms of domestic violence such as child abuse and maltreatment, intimate partner violence, and elder abuse. Violence is acute and fatal, such as the death of a child after a beating from a parent. Violence can be chronic and ongoing.

Violence comes in many forms; it can be physical, emotional or sexual. Violence includes the teasing, bullying and emotional abuse that some people, adults and children, heap on each other in peer groups, regardless of age. Violence is present in gang relationships, among gang members, between gangs and members of the general public. Violence occurs in the educational setting-from the first grader who brings a gun to school, to the tragedy at Virginia Tech where over two dozen people were shot by a student.

Violence occurs in our popular culture through a variety of means such as throughout the entertainment industry, with song lyrics, listened to by countless children, adolescents and adults, that aggrandize violence; video games where violence is glorified; gratuitous violence created by special effects in films; and the barely-concealed sexually exploitive photos in fashion magazines, often with sexually violent overtones. Violence is insidious in our society; it permeates our society.

The CDC (2015) states “school violence is youth violence that occurs on school property, on the way to or from school or school-sponsored events, or during a school-sponsored event. A young person can be a victim, a perpetrator, or a witness of school violence. School violence may also involve or impact adults.

Youth violence includes various behaviors. Some violent acts—such as bullying and teasing—can cause more emotional harm than some overt physical harm. Other forms of violence, such as gang violence and assault (with or without weapons), can lead to serious injury or even death.

Youth violence is a serious problem that can have lasting harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. The goal for youth violence prevention is simple—to stop youth violence from happening in the first place. But the solutions are as complex as the problem (CDC, 2016a)

Since the violence that occurs in the schools is a component of the larger issue of violence in our culture, prevention efforts must go beyond the schools.  The prevention of violence must reach all aspects of our society. Prevention of violence includes laws (such as those against murder, child abuse, sexual harassment, etc.), skills training to improve interpersonal interaction (mediation, conflict resolution, etc.), social rules (manners, civility, norms for behavior). Some specific programs that are evidence based are reported by the CDC at

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