The impact of the threat of violence on selected school districts in Texas



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Texas A&M University


The purpose of this study was to collect information on violence from a sampling of Texas school and police administrators concerning rates of violence, prevention measures, and the impact of the violence. Violence is still a too frequent occurrence in our public schools. Although there has been a decrease in recent years, it continues to concern educators and the public. Many of the initiators of violence have referred to bullying and harassment as a reason for striking out violently. Research indicated that teachers often do not identify and/or do not respond to bullying. Another identified cause of violence is depression. Students who have caused violence have frequently been identified with relevant symptoms. Staff training on the recognition of the characteristics of depression is not a frequent occurrence. In addition, acts of violence are characteristically planned in advance. This allows school and police administrators an opportunity for intervention if structures exist for the information to be shared with those in authority. According to police administrators, nearly 50 percent of the communities in this study have experienced a crime rate increase during the past twelve months. Only 21 percent of the school administrators responded similarly. This evidence suggests that police administrators recorded higher rates of violence than did school administrators. The results from this study also suggested that there might be limited knowledge and/or working relationships between schools and police authorities in some locations. Also indicated was that neither school nor police administrators frequently involve students directly in their prevention measures. Suggested in this study is that school administrators implement the bulk of violence prevention measures, many more than do police administrators. The findings from this study can guide two major initiatives to increase the safety of public schools. The results can assist in the planning of safety initiatives used by school and police administrators. They can also guide future studies into areas that required additional information on which to build conclusions for both student safety and student achievement.