Monthly Article Archives: April 2002

Violence Prevention in Our Schools: Promoting a Sense of BelongingRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

The issue of school safety and school violence has received attention for a number of years. Certainly the tragedy at Columbine High School dramatically heightened interest in what steps could be taken to lessen the likelihood of such violence occurring in the future. Understandably, school shootings attract national and international attention, but we must not be blinded to the reality that less sensational expressions of anger and intimidation occur on a daily basis in our schools, expressed in such forms as teasing and bullying. The reasons that children inflict physical and emotional pain on their peers are complex and vary from one child to the next. The picture is also complex when we consider how best to deal with angry, violent youth. When a shooting occurs, when a child is taunted or beaten by other students, it is easy to focus our attention on safety measures such as the installation of metal detectors or cameras in the corridors or to hold assemblies in which the concept of respect towards others is extolled and consequences for acts of intimidation are outlined. I wish to make it clear that I strongly support appropriate safety measures and I believe that each school and

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