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School Violence

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Abstract

School violence is nothing new in the United States. Unfortunately, it has been going on since the late 1700’s. The earliest reported school shooting in the United States took place on July 26, 1764 near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania. A school master and nine or ten children were killed by four Lenape American Indians. Let’s fast forward to the year 2017, where a man entered the campus of North Park Elementary school and killed his estranged wife and a student before turning the gun on himself. Incidents like this one, the Columbine high school massacre, and the Sandy Hook elementary shooting have prompted many school districts across the United States to implement the school resource officer program. A school resource officer is typically an armed sworn police officer who is assigned to the school campus. School resource officers maintain the school’s security and prevent crime while interacting with the students and staff on a daily basis. Just the presence of a school resource officer on campus can be a deterrent for anyone trying to plan an attack on a school campus. School resource officers have a direct line of contact with the emergency dispatch center in case of an emergency. While there is no way to absolutely predict, or prevent school shootings or violence from happening, we can take protective measures to keep our children safe. This study will show how valuable a school resource officer is for security to any school who has adopted the program.

SCHOOL VIOLENCE

School violence is a major problem in the United States. Unfortunately, it is nothing new and has been going on since the late 1700’s. The very first reported school shooting in the United States took place on July 26th, 1764 near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania. A school master and nine or ten children were killed by four Lenape American Indians. School violence has become more and more common in schools across the Nation and is growing every day. In a recent study, it was estimated that approximately 100,000 guns and 600,000 knives are brought to schools daily according to Townley and Martinez (I.M. Johnson, 1999). Other studies by Hawkins and Sautter, show the number of guns to be much higher at 270,000 taken to school by children daily (I.M. Johnson, 1999). According to the U.S. Department of Justice Statistics, 2,000 students are attacked hourly on school grounds, 900 teachers are threatened, and another 40 are physically attacked (I.M. Johnson, 1999). Schools are to be a safe place for children to go and learn. Children should not be in fear of being threatened, intimidated, bullied or even killed by anyone. In order to minimize school violence, is it important for law enforcement to have a working relationship with the schools in their communities.

One specific school incident sparked a large change to the way school security was handled in the United States. On the morning of April 20, 1999, just after 11:10 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris arrived at Columbine high school and parked in the campus parking lot in separate vehicles. Klebold and Harris walked into the school’s cafeteria and placed two large duffel bags on the floor each containing one twenty-pound propane bomb. They both walked back out to their cars in the school parking lot and waited for the bombs to explode. When the bombs failed to detonate, Klebold and Harris walked back towards the school each armed with a semiautomatic 9mm handgun and a sawed-off shotgun. Klebold and Harris walked through the campus killing a total of thirteen people and wounding twenty others, before turning the guns on themselves committing suicide.

Both Klebold and Harris were students at Columbine high school, who many believed carried out these acts because they were bullied, were members of an outcast group, or they were influenced by violent video games. Days after the shooting, many speculated Harris and Klebold targeted athletes, minorities and Christians. One report stated that one of the victims, Cassie Bernall, was asked by one of the gunmen if she believed in God. Rumor has it Bernall said, “Yes,” she was then shot to death. Bernall’s parents later wrote a book titled “She Said Yes,” in dedication to their late daughter. It was later found that Cassie Bernall was not questioned and it was another student who was asked if they believed in god. When that student said, “Yes,” the shooter walked away. Investigations that took place later by police determined Klebold and Harris chose random people during the shooting. Through thorough investigations, police found that Klebold and Harris planned out the attack for over one year prior to that day. Klebold and Harris made videos referencing to what they were going to do and logged personal journals

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