Publication Date

1999

Abstract

What could possibly compel a young student in a small community to fire a gun at his classmates and teachers? The influence of television? The inability of youth to appropriately vent feelings? The presence of guns? Lack of parental guidance? These questions are being asked by school communities around the countries in the wake of what seems to be a rash of school shootings from Paducah, Kentucky to Springfield, Oregon. While there is no single solution, it is critical for schools to reflect on what is happening locally in order to avoid further bloodshed among our youth. The answers to these questions can only lie within the borders of individual communities comprised of unique families, cultures, socioeconomic influences and histories. This manual will focus on assisting you as an educator to collaborate with others in your support network- administrators, teachers, support staff and others involved in educating student- to build a strong school community. Strength will come from your combined efforts to understand one another, to communicate more effectively and above all to anticipate and manage conflicts as they arise. It is important to note that we do not feel that the entire burden of resolving your community's problems rests on educators. Nor would you believe that schools are to blame for youth violence. On the contrary, this manual is simply intended to assist all members of your staff to build a strong, safe and congenial climate at your school.

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