School Violence: Definition, History, Causes & Effects

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  • 0:01 School Violence Defined
  • 1:00 History Of School Violence
  • 1:50 Causes for School Violence
  • 2:23 Effects on Communities…
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Janell Blanco

Janell has an MBA, a Master's in Education, and a BS in Public Safety Management.

In this lesson, we will learn the definition and history of school violence. We will also discuss the causes and effects of school violence. There will be a quiz at the end of the lesson.

School Violence Defined

Many of us can remember where we were the first time we heard about a school shooting. Parents held back tears as they worried about their own children and silently sent positive thoughts to the children, teachers, and families involved. A parent sends their child to gain knowledge and learn and should not have to worry about their children being safe at school.

School violence is any activity that can create a disturbance in an educational system. It's not just school shootings. It includes verbal and physical altercations. It is also bullying through electronic means or social media, threats, weapon use, or gang activity. School violence can also be defined as a physical or verbal altercation on the way to school, on the way home from school, or at a school-sponsored event that can cause physical or psychological harm to another individual, school, or community.

School violence has occurred at the grade school and high school levels. School violence also occurs at the collegiate level, with the deadliest school shooting occurring at Virginia Tech.

History of School Violence

School violence is not a new concept. It has been documented as early as 1927 when Andrew Kehoe set bombs off at a school in Bath, Michigan. Kehoe killed himself and several others. In 1959, Paul Orgeron set off a bomb at a playground in Texas that killed himself along with teachers and students. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has recorded 272 school violence incidents from the early 1900s until present day.

Those who commit school violence attacks include staff members, members of the community, and current and former students. The age range of those who commit the crimes vary; the oldest offender was a 62-year-old librarian who killed a colleague. From 1990 until present day, there has been an increase in school violence but the reasons that the offenders commit the crime are not always known.

Causes for School Violence

There is no clear-cut reason or cause for school violence. However, there are factors that can increase a student's likelihood to commit a type of school crime. Some of these factors include:

  • An impoverished community
  • Poor academic success
  • A history of violence
  • Poor family structure
  • The use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs
  • Being bullied by others
  • Biological factors (something present in a person's genetic makeup)
  • Behavioral factors, such as impulsiveness, attention deficit disorders, or hyperactivity

Effects on Communities and Individuals

School violence can have a negative effect on a community. Such effects include:

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