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

Conceptualizing Violence Prevention

Specifics of New York State SAVE Legislation




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Violence is a very broad concept; it permeates most aspects of our society, making it a difficult topic to address. 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 should be viewed on a continuum from death and overt physical aggression to more subtle methods that can include emotional abuse such as teasing, belittling, shunning, etc. Violence in our schools reflects the violence that occurs throughout our society.

Violence is a 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 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 adolescents, 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.

School violence is a subset of youth violence, a broader public health problem. Youth violence refers to harmful behaviors that may start early and continue into young adulthood. It includes bullying, slapping, punching, weapon use, and rape. Victims can suffer serious injury, significant social and emotional damage, or even death. The young person can be a victim, an offender, or a witness to the violence-or a combination of these (CDC, n.d.).

Within that context, violence that occurs in the schools is a component of the larger issue of violence in our culture. The prevention of violence then must also permeate all aspects of our society. Prevention of violence includes laws (there are laws against murder, child abuse, sexual harassment, etc.), skills training (mediation, conflict resolution, etc.), social rules (manners, civility, norms for behavior).

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