Books About School Violence

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

School violence can take on many different faces, from bullying to school shootings. This lesson provides books on a variety of school violence to educate teens and create talking points for class.

School Violence

Violence in school is something kids deal with regularly, whether it's kids getting into scuffles or bullying - or worse, school shootings. Unfortunately, kids can be violent; in 2011, over 700,000 kids were hospitalized for conflicts in school. This isn't just amongst boys either; girls have also perpetrated violence against others. Due to the variety of ways that violence can be brought into school, it's important to educate students on the consequences. Students may not truly realize the legal implications, or may not care. Creating empathy for others can help avoid violence altogether, and it is believed that reading books on student violence can create that empathy in many students. The following books are divided by violent action, so that different issues can be addressed.

School Shootings

The following books focus on the violence of school shootings, since this is a very real concern in schools today.

  • Hate List by Jennifer Brown - This story centers around a list of people and things that a high school student and her boyfriend hate. Her boyfriend takes it too far and brings a gun to school to kill everyone on their list. The girlfriend, although not part of that plan, feels guilty and struggles to move on after violence is perpetrated by the boy she loves. Teaching points for this book are centered around understanding that it's ok to love someone, but you don't have to participate in their actions.
  • Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser - This book is about how emotional abuse against two teenaged boys becomes the impetus for them to take their school hostage and start shooting. The teaching points here are good for addressing that everyone should be responsible for their actions.
  • Rage by Richard Bachman - A story about a boy who takes his class hostage, and makes them explain why they should live and what makes them special. Meanwhile, he also explains his own struggles and why he has committed such an act. This is good to show students why kids struggle, and that everyone has their own troubles.
  • Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson - Told from a variety of student perspectives, we learn about a school shooter and slowly find out how a good kid turns to violence. This helps students realize that even the smallest actions can cause ripples in a person that can eventually turn to violence.
  • Columbine by Dave Cullen - This book is a look at the actual school shooting at Columbine. Written by a man who researched and spoke with survivors, he puts his thoughts down on the shooting. Due to its non-fiction nature, this book can help older students see the gruesome realities of this type of violence.

Dating Violence

Fights and violence in relationships are additional issues seen in school. Emotional and physical abuse are seen by both girls and boys, due to unhealthy relationships. The following books discuss each of these issues.

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