Imagine working in a school as a secretary. The phones are ringing constantly and it is just a normal, yet busy Wednesday afternoon. There is a call over the radio stating there is a code red, which is an intruder. The secretary’s job is to alert the students, teachers and staff. As the alert is made, panic is spread around the school. This scenario would not be an issue if violence in schools was not a problem. One of the main reasons violence in school is a problem is because access to weapons is easily accessible. What is known as the “gun show loophole,” most states do not require background checks for firearms purchased at gun shows from private individuals. Federal law only requires licensed dealers to conduct checks. There are more than 393 million guns in circulation in the United States, which is approximately 120.5 guns for every 100 people. Some may argue that to obtain a weapon, one must go through a serious of background checks. Yes, there are background checks to buy a weapon from a licensed seller but there are plenty of unlicensed places to purchase a gun, such as the black market. There also is not a mental health background check, which leads to not just this problem but to more as well. With so many school tragedies, imagine how many could have been prevented if more mental health backgrounds were performed. Since weapons are so accessible, the lack of protective background checks needs to be changed. Another reason why violence in school is a problem is because video games today have high levels of realistic violence. Most children play some sort of video game, whether it is Fortnite or Call of Duty, or an app that has an objective of who can kill the most people wins. This type of violence carries over into children’s everyday lives because they are constantly exposed. More than 187,000 students have been unprotected by gun violence. Nearly 19 children a day are treated or die from gunshot wound. 1,300 children died from a gun from 2012-2014. This is not just a problem in middle schools and high schools, but it has reached into elementary schools. Remember Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting where 20 children were fatally shot? Even though there are violent video games teenagers today are not fazed by the violence. This may be true but video game designers should be more aware of what this realistic violence is leading to. The number of children that have brutally died due to gun violence needs to change, and this change needs to happen now.
Violence is a problem because a child will start to act violently during unstructured and unsupervised time. Youth engage in unstructured activities that lack adult supervision, such as spending time in unsupervised self-care with siblings, peers, or alone at home. If one more child was given the opportunity or privilege to participate in afterschool programs or buddy programs that is one mass shooting or violent outburst that could have been potentially prevented. One may argue that afterschool programs are available for this purpose. Yes, this may be true, but in areas of low income, where violence may also be present, the children may not have the opportunity to participate. If at least one more program was available to a child that was headed in the wrong path, that is one less violent incident in schools.
It is a problem because violence is televised. Television programming as of 2010 is all about showing reality without censorship, meaning that a child is overwhelmed with shows depicting physical and sexual violence, as well as the use of illegal substances and harsh language. The presence of violence on tv that a child watches, results in a life of depression, aggression, nightmares about not being safe, or becoming violent themselves. Parents can put controls on TVs so that children, when tuning in, will not have the opportunity to see the violence. Parental Controls can be set, but because violence is so common and widespread it could be hard to block everything from a child. By the TV stations being aware of what their showings are doing could potentially solve some of the violence in schools.
Finally, violence in schools is a problem because it is so common today. Anyone, from any background, can get the motivation to harm a school. This action not only terrifies the students and staff at the school but it terrifies the entire country as well. In 2015, 2,824 children (age 0 to 19 years) died by gunshot and an additional 13,723 were injured. One may believe that violence in schools is over televised, but it is not as bad as it seems. What about all the school shootings, Sandy Hook Elementary for example, or the number of mass shootings within the last 5 years, this shows gun violence is growing and something needs to change. Although there will always be ongoing violence, it is our jobs as determined students, parents and community members to reach out and know that this violence is not okay.
In order for the children and staff members of local schools to schools around the country to feel safe in their learning environments, the violence needs to stop. These problems will not be an easy solution to resolve but through hard work and determination it can become a reality. The gruesome deaths of children and staff members may not be something that will change right away but with the proper precautions a sense of safety can be obtained. Metal detectors when entering the school, accessible bullet proof shields for bookbags, and more school shooting protocols are only the start to making students, teachers, and staff members safe in their daily environments.