Giving Teens a Voice

Students' Essays

The Students’ Essays on School Violence

This section is organized as follows:

4.0 Student Essays on School Violence
4.1 The Student and Violence - Essay
4.2 Parents and Violence - Essay
4.3.1 Teachers and Violence – Essay 1
4.3.2 Teachers and Violence – Essay 2
4.4.1 Schools/Administrators and Violence – Essay 1
4.4.2 Schools/Administrators and Violence – Essay 2
4.5.1 Law Enforcement, the Community, the Media and Violence – Essay 1
4.5.2 Law Enforcement, the Community, the Media and Violence – Essay 2
4.6 Other Thoughts about Violence -Essay
4.7 Is Violence Inevitable? - Essay

4.0 Student Essays on School Violence

Time did not permit some of the printed material to be generated during the actual EMS sessions. The alternative was to ask the students to write essays based on their collaborative efforts during the two sessions. The students used the material presented in Section 3 as the basis for their essays. The resulting essays are presented here without editing..  Students were encouraged to be editors of the collaborative comments of the group, but to refrain from editorializing about their personal favorite topics.

Essay by Danny G, Age 17, Male, Senior

 The student is undeniably at the very core of the school violence issue. It is the everyday life of the student, and their reaction to that life, that will ultimately either propagate or dispel the specter of violence in the schools. The influence of society will definitely need to be brought to bear against the issue of violence. However, the internal discipline of the student must also be called upon if we are to ensure a truly violence free school system.
A topic of national notice in the recent outbreaks of school violence has been unnoticed comments of students that could have given warning that they were about to become violent. It is very important that students realize that their responsibility to protect the lives of their classmates overrides their obligation to protect their classmates from punishment. Very early in their lives, students are warned against being a ‘tattle tale’, and this schema has become so ingrained into the social consciousness of the student population that many students do not tell authorities even if they know that a fellow student is planning an act of violence. It should be understood, however, that a threat of violence might also be taken too seriously. A rational decision must be made in each individual case as to whether a threatening remark constitutes actual danger. It is important that this be looked at on a case by case basis to prevent comments made in jest or exclamation from causing a student to get in trouble.
The internal motivations of students are at the root of their violent actions. Peer pressure often causes students to begin down a path that leads to actions that are criminal, and possibly violent. Students should try to set good examples for others. If the conception of what is popular could be altered to condemn violent and amoral behavior, then violent acts committed by students would be likely to show a rapid and pronounced reduction. There are many ways for students to set a good example. One of them is to carefully consider the possible outcomes of a certain course of behavior before action. Rash and unthinking behavior are very often the events that ignite a violent situation. Students should also adopt a personal moral philosophy and follow it very closely, even when it is not personally convenient. However, they should accept the philosophies of other without trying to impose their own personal morality. Trying to impose a particular philosophy on an unwilling student will only result in the reclusion of that student from society. The alienation of students in this way fosters resentment, and possibly, violence. To set a good example, students must respect both themselves and others in action, word, and thought. No person’s rights extend to the point that they infringe on the rights of someone else. Hateful philosophies such as racism or sexism foster future violence. Only when a student has personally accepted a moral code can he serve to influence others towards morality.
Today, many of the possible solutions to violence are not solutions at all. We try to shelter ourselves behind bulletproof glass and metal detectors, as if violence is a thing that we can hide from. To overcome violence, we must confront it, not escape it. Only when the causes of violence have been eliminated will we truly be safe from the effects of violence.
In conclusion, the issue of violence from the perspective of the student is very complex. The students must balance personal morality with tolerance for other opinions. They must balance the desire to be trustworthy with the obligation to prevent violence. They must balance the need for protection from violence with the need to defeat it. Ultimately the end of school violence will be seen only when the students draw upon their own internal drive and discipline to prevent it at the source.

4.2 Parents and Violence - Essay
Essay by Daniel P, Age 17, Male, Senior
(references are to points in Section 3)

3.2.1. The beginning of life for a child in society starts in the home.  Parents should teach their kids at a young age that violence is not the answer and that good moral and ethical standards are.  Another thing parents need to do for their kids is always be supportive and surround their children with love and support that they may show later in life.  For some families, a good place to teach their kids these values is at church, but religion should not be propagated as the ultimate source of morality.  There are many families that have high moral and ethical standards who don't go to church.  Thus, church might be the answer for some but not for others.  Something that the community might do to help future parents is provide these people the opportunity to pick up literature on how to be responsible and loving parents.
3.2.2. One major thing that parents should not do is rely on somebody else to teach their kids self control, such as a teacher.  Parents should be the one to set the example first, in the home.  There are parents who tell their children not to do many things, such as to not be violent, when they themselves do the exact thing they tell their kids not to do.  Actions speak louder than words in a parents situation.  Violence would end in schools if self control was taught vigorously in the home.
3.2.3. TV is a major source of violence for little kids to see.  The problem with little kids and some older kids is that they can't separate what happens in a movie from reality.  Parents need to relay to their children why this violence is wrong, and they should always point out that what they watch on TV is not real, unless the kid is watching the news, and then the parent must point out that that might be real but society will not tolerate the violent behavior.  Parents should also monitor what their kids are watching, but do it in a sensitive way and make sure to explain why that movie or TV show is inappropriate.
3.2.4. Another thing that parents must do when raising their kids is to teach them to respect others.  Parents should also teach their children how to cool off when they are angry.  Parents must work on this too.  Parents should never physically or verbally abuse their family because that would set an awful example for their kids.  The children might think that violence is the proper way to run a family when they get older and the trend might be set for another generation.  Parents must also remember to cool off before punishing their children because in the parents anger, they might deal out a harsher than that be needed.
3.2.5.  Parents need to remember that kids make mistakes or that they forget to do things.  Small things should not escalate into big things.  Small problems should not be blown out of proportion.
The community could support workshops for parents so they can learn about how to cope with small issues in the home.  They could also be taught how to deal with problems such as drugs, premarital sex, and violence, which are the issues that should be dealt with in a serious fashion.
3.2.6. Parents must give their children the respect they deserve.  They must also teach their kids right from wrong and explain why doing something wrong is bad.  All this must begin when the children are very young.
3.2.7.   If students today were taught good moral and ethical standards, be it from church or by some other means, violence would not be a problem in schools today.  Teenagers need to get morals back into their lives.  This means parents need to set a good example and there are so many parents that do not set a good example.  Parents need to teach kids to respect other people and their feelings.  Parents also must also teach their kids that they must have self control in all situations, be them good or bad.  A parent who is a hypocrite is doing no favors for their children because the kids will see it.

4.3.1 Teachers and Violence – Essay 1
 Essay by Alan J, Age 17, Male, Senior

A major idea expressed is that both teachers and parents should lead by example.  They must give students the same amount of respect that they expect to receive in return.  Morality and ethics should be taught and enforced in the home and at school.  A proposed action was to develop a required workshop for teachers in which they are taught how to be respectful to students while maintaining authority in the classroom, and warned of possible consequences that could arise should they get "out of control.".
Teachers need to learn to identify potentially violent students.  A proposal was made to require teachers to have a certain amount of training in psychology so that they can better identify and handle potentially violent students.  If a teacher learns that a student has committed violent acts, or has plans to do so, then the teacher should confront the student.  However, the teacher should not automatically assume the best way to handle the situation is to call the student’s parents.  While that may be necessary in extreme cases, it will most likely result in not much more than resentment and distrust toward the teacher.
Another proposed action was the teaching of a morality and ethics class.  There were conflicting views about this.  Some seemed to think it was a good idea, while others stated that the schoolroom was not the proper place for that.  However, everyone seemed to agree that whether or not morality and ethics are actually taught, they should be displayed in the actions of the teacher.  Perhaps teachers could take a morality and ethics class.  Some seemed concerned that if such a class was taught, it may infringe upon some people’s religious beliefs.  Precautions would need to be taken to avoid such infringement.  Although morality and ethics should be displayed and enforced, teachers should not shun discussing why certain actions would be immoral or unethical, but they should instead encourage such conversations.
An almost unanimous opinion was expressed that teachers should maintain a positive, friendly attitude.  They should offer plenty of encouragement, and recognize students when they do hard work.  Teachers should take time to greet students as they enter the room, and get to know students personally.  And, again, always strive to maintain a positive attitude. "Just a smile in the hall could do a lot."
Both students and teachers should not treat odd-looking teenagers(i.e. multicolored hair, odd make-up and clothing, etc.) any different than they would a "normal" looking teenager.  They probably look as they do as a sign of rebellion, and acknowledging their difference only encourages and furthers this rebellion.  Along these same lines, teachers should try not to automatically assume that such students are the ones that will be the trouble-makers.  Often such appearance is used for no other reason than to attract attention, which does not indicate a tendency to cause trouble.
Responsibility should be taught to students.  If a student does something wrong, he should be punished accordingly.  The best way to teach a student to understand the importance of taking responsibility for their actions is for the teacher to display responsibility.  If the teacher makes a mistake, he should be willing to admit it and apologize.  If students see teachers avoiding their responsibilities, they will copy the behavior.  However, if they see teachers recognizing their responsibilities, they will copy that as well.

4.3.2 Teachers and Violence – Essay 2
Essay by Sunday V, Age 16, Female, Junior
and Crystal V, Age 16, Female, Junior

If teachers stress self-control, and develop strong moral and ethical foundations in students, violent acts could be fewer in number.  The actions of a teacher bear tremendous influence on his or her students. To effectively teach ethics and morality, the teacher must therefore set the example.  Beginning while the student is very young, such as kindergarten age, is the key for this endeavor.  While teaching character, morality, self-control, and ethics, teachers must, however, refrain from infringing on religious beliefs.  It is necessary to build these foundations at school starting at an early age so that children will learn not to harm themselves and others, and carry those lessons throughout their lives.
Instilling responsibility from day one is also essential in combating violence.  Teachers should show that with responsibility comes privilege, and that violent behavior asks for punitive measures.  Students need to be taught that they are personally responsible for themselves.  One way to teach responsibility is through homework.  To effectively show the importance of responsibility, more emphasis should be placed on the value of homework.  Once a student learns responsibility for school work, it will carry to other aspects of their life.
Developing positive thought patterns can be a first step in avoiding violent behavior.  Something as simple as reading Aesop’s fables to a class of young children can help build a foundation of morality in the children that could be built upon in as the years pass.  Equally effective is a positive environment.  The classroom should have a warm and inviting atmosphere.  Fill rooms with posters displaying values and inspirational sayings.  Violent students often feel rejected.  A teacher simply offering  a kind word or smile could make them feel accepted, therefore helping to prevent violence.  Teachers from kindergarten to high school should offer inviting classrooms and positive reinforcement.
It is also important that teachers should not treat teenagers that choose to express themselves through eccentric dress and/or hair color any differently that they would a "normal" looking teenager.  Teachers could attend a workshop to learn how to show respect to teenagers for their inner self and not their outward appearance.  Many reasons exist as to why teenagers choose to dress in exceptionally different manners.  A mistake sometimes made by teachers is labeling these teenagers as troublemakers.  Teachers should pay more attention to behavior, not the outfit that the student is wearing.  It is important that teachers be able to monitor abhorrent behavior.  One way for a teacher to be able to recognize behavioral problems before they get out of hand is to have a background in psychology.  One way to accomplish this could be mandatory seminars.

4.4.1 Schools/Administrators and Violence – Essay 1
Essay by Adam S, Age 17, Male, Senior

Background checks and enforcement of rules
The first thought of the students involved in this effort seems to be that the blame for the problem of violence in the schools should not rest solely on the children.  Student recommendations for reducing or eliminating this violence included background checks on all school employees including teachers, principals, and maintenance workers.  The recommendations were much more specific than background checks.  Some suggestions are: review prospective employees for signs of mental illness and instability, search for a history of sexual molestation, and check that the employee has a personality that will promote good values and friendliness in the other employees and the students.  Because of the role administrators fill in the school environment it is imperative that they be able to promote good values in the children.

Mandatory immediate expulsion for actions characterized as violent
The majority of students who commented on the issue of punishment for students condoned the use of strict measures to isolate problem students from the remainder of the school population.  Students disagree about the severity of the punishment and how many chances a problem student should get, but it is clear that the current system is in their eyes far too lenient in controlling the behavior of the students.  The students expressed concern that the current system makes no distinction between self-defense and aggression.  Some recommendations were to send violent students to a setting similar to a boot camp or labor camp to "do time".

Reward good behavior with added privileges
Rewards are clearly a very important way to encourage good behavior among students.  The students emphasized the need to revamp the image of the "good kid".  Currently, students seek to avoid this label because of the connotations it has among other students.  By making the rewards seem more like rewards than blatant favoritism, the students feel it could be used to effectively promote good behavior that will be expressed not only in the school setting but will carry over into society at large.  It is very important though that the reward system is administered in such a way that it does not create divisions between students that could lead to further problems.

Avoid being racist, sexist, etc.
Prejudices propagate disunity and encourage its spread among the students when introduced by teachers.  The teachers should be reviewed for any indication of favoritism, racism, sexism, etc.  Any teachers who show these kinds of indications are to be excused from their duties immediately.  The feeling is that teachers should be required to attend sessions that are designed to teach them how to eliminate seemingly prejudiced actions or words.

Teach character and morals in the classroom
Good character is a key to maintaining a safe environment.  The road to this attainment is hard because it cannot be charged with any religious views.  The drive should be on teaching courtesy and good manners not on instilling any particular set of religious values.

Create a good school environment
The classroom environment is one of the key factors in helping the students to keep a positive outlook on life.  This is important especially in grade school so that they can avoid ever becoming problems.  The teacher’s attitude is  a factor in the attitude of the students.  The classroom should be safe, neat, and clean so that students can concentrate on the business of learning.  Students should be given the opportunity to air their concerns over these issues to school administrators for investigation and action.  Make the learning environment comfortable and inviting so kids will want to come and be able to learn.

Treat all teenagers the same
Distinctions between students based on appearance tends to increase the isolation the student feels.  Individuality is not insanity and it is not grounds to treat students differently.  Some of the brightest students find themselves isolated from a learning environment because they cannot wear the kinds of clothing they are comfortable in.

Guns and deadly weapons
Guns and other deadly weapons are not to be tolerated at all in the schools.  The consequences for bringing deadly weapons on school grounds should be swift and severe.  School is a privilege not a right and violent acts forfeit this privilege.

4.4.2 Schools/Administrators and Violence – Essay 2
Essay by Chris T, Age 17, Male, Senior

Administrators in schools have become completely baffled and concerned about the ever-spreading acts of violence in the past few years among students. They have tried continuously to come to some sort of consensus to put an end to such behavior, but have not had much luck. In order to help win the battle against such acts of rage, we students and adults have come up with some suggestions and recommendations for administrators and teachers that will hopefully be implemented as a means of ridding schools of this hideous behavior
In today's world, students, teachers, administrators, and any other workers are all at risk each time they step onto a school campus.  However, to greatly reduce and even eliminate such risk, schools have to "look" at students in a way that persuades them to resist the temptation of committing evil crimes. For instance, if school systems would adopt a strict, "immediate expulsion" policy for violent activity, school crime would greatly diminish in a short time, once the violent and callous people are removed. Then, more and more people would be content to obey and follow the rules without question. Harsh punishments make students think twice about committing a violent act. If school administrators want this problem to end, they must show who is boss and enforce strict, but fair guidelines for everyone to follow.
Another way to end this problem of school violence is to merely reward good behavior and respect students as they would respect you. Make the persona of a "good kid" desirable. Today's society already condemns good behavior. Therefore, schools should actively combat this by rewarding responsibility with privilege, thus encouraging good behavior. However, be careful not to make added privileges such that it may cause strict divisions in the school- this could lead to further violent developments instead of solving the problem. Moreover, students who are well behaved have earned the freedom that not all students deserve and therefore should be rewarded for it as an encouragement for others to follow.
In the classroom itself, teachers should "look" at the students in a way as to not be racist, sexist, etc. Focus on teaching the curriculum, but also focus on good morals and character. Keep the environment conducive for learning and allow students to be safely unique.  Acknowledging their difference only encourages and furthers rebellion and violence.
However, before a teacher ever sets foot in the classroom, or any other worker for that fact, perform a background check. Violence is not always the students' fault, so make sure the school employees are not jeopardizing the school's safety.
With all of these suggestions / recommendations in mind, good results should prevail. Society is taking a toll on each individual in negative ways. As a result, schools and administrators are going to have to face the problem and learn to deal with society's ills. It only takes a few individuals to ruin many lives. Therefore, rules are going to have to get stricter and harsher in order to meet the security measures necessary to ensure a good and safe learning experience.

4.5.1 Law Enforcement, the Community, the Media and Violence – Essay 1
Essay by Catherine P., Age 17, Female, Senior

When a crime such as murder, rape, arson, or theft is committed by a young adult, one who is old enough to think actions out for himself, then he should be tried and punished as an adult. "Adult" crimes require the appropriate punishment, otherwise the incorrect message is sent to the offender. When only sent to a detention center, or not punished at all, then the young adult thinks he can ‘get away with it,’ and may repeat the offense. Yet, on the other hand, good judgment should be used, for if the child is too young to logically think out the action, but simply acts out of curiosity, like a young child with a gun, then the parents should be responsible. The message here is simply to punish crimes according to their magnitude: ‘Let the punishment fit the crime.’
The goal, however, is to prevent crime and violence before it begins, and society is the necessary instrument of change. When violence and crime are so common place that society responds nonchalantly as if it is something that can’t be stopped and ‘just happens,’ then the wrong message is sent. The community, media, and society in general should treat crimes more seriously and portray such in a negative light, instead of violence being rampant on TV and in the movies, and the heroes the strong, tough ones, not sensitive and intelligent.
A more positive influence needs to be present for kids when they are very young. Young children should be taught the connotations and consequences of violence. An emphasis should be placed on non-violence in the media, especially cartoons that younger kids watch, since such technology is practically an everyday facet of all people’s lives.

4.5.2 Law Enforcement, the Community, the Media and Violence – Essay 2
Essay by Matt T., Age 14, Male, Freshman

In today's society, violence is becoming so common and so widespread that it literally is taking a toll on the morality that was once set for this country. As a result, calls for law enforcement are becoming so commonplace that people are becoming to depend on law enforcers to take care of the problems in society themselves. Although law enforcement handles many problems itself, the department relies on communities and the media to help them solve society's problems, such as that of school violence. With this in mind, some suggestions and recommendations have been compiled to help solve this problem regarding violence in schools and will hopefully be put into effect as a means of solving this growing problem in schools.
As violence is becoming more commonplace and more severe in society, the laws and consequences are beginning to not fit the crime. For example, juveniles these days will commit an adult crime and not get punished for committing such crimes. As a result of this leniency, violence has increased to all time highs and kids have a mental picture that they can get off free no matter what they do. Therefore, if kids commit adult crimes, law enforcers should not be afraid of punishing them for their actions and should try them as adults. If a kid is old enough to commit a violent crime, then he/she is old enough to pay the harsh price. Putting them in juvenile detention centers only lets them get away with the crime and allows for a criminal adult life. A message must be sent that these crimes have harsh, undesirable consequences and kids will not get off easy because of their young ages.
In response to such violence, law enforcement, communities, and the media must all work together as a team. Law enforcement officers could go to elementary schools and talk to students about violence, the negative side of it (how bad it is), and ways to prevent it, and start early on gaining respect for themselves. Also, being a present force in the community is a very important part of fighting crime. If police officers could get out of their cars and get back to walking the streets in greater numbers, then the sheer presence of the "men in blue" would deter crime before it starts. This kind of presence is especially necessary in schools, but it should not be an intimidating force. If the police force takes on an active role in society, then respect for them will come naturally as long as they do not take on a "tough guy" role. Be friendly and respect people; it will surprise you of how positive the atmosphere will become.
The communities also need to get involved in carrying out the solutions.  Birmingham needs more safe teen activities and clubs; up north cities are filled with safe places for teens to go, and kids can go and have a good time without all the pressure. Hopefully, such activities will discourage or draw interest away from potentially hazardous activities. Also, more community opportunities for group socializing for youth (like sports, special interest clubs, etc.) would give youth more things to do and less free time to spend on committing crimes. "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." Therefore, keep teens as occupied as possible doing the things they enjoy. Overall, though, the community needs to reflect nonviolent behavior before the problem will get any better. Giving everybody a little respect would help in the most part.  Just remember: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
The media is a major influence on teens. Violence is in movies, television programs, and music. It is getting to the point where society believes and tries to imitate everything they see on TV, while accepting its content. Violence in the media and in everything else needs to have negative tones or not exist at all.  A major way we can solve the violent activity in society is to eliminate the "trash" on TV. By doing this, positive
 major way we can solve the violent activity in society is to eliminate the "trash" on TV. By doing this, positive things can appeal to the "couch potatoes" that watch TV all day and try to imitate what they watch in their own lives. If violence was not a major part of television (in cartoons, etc.), then society would not be composed of all of the violence today. Therefore, it is imperative that the media joins the war effort to eliminate the violence and hate in young people by focusing on more positive and pleasant stories to cover and show on television.
Another problem that encourages violence is the "heroes" we, as a society, decide to look up to as our role models. The emphasis on society needs to be changed from the heroes being the people who are stronger or faster or tougher to those who are compassionate, intelligent, and who contribute to society. Society has encouraged physical activity to the point where who is stronger, or faster, or who has the best aim is the dominant force. This is a foolish thing that can lead to violence, and society is "now reaping what it sowed." Too much emphasis on athletic ability and beauty has left teens violent, delusional, anorexic, etc. Praise creativeness and intelligence and celebrate the natural human spirit. The results will be surprising.

4.6 Other Thoughts about Violence -Essay
Essay by Danny G., Age 17, Male, Senior

Violence in the schools is an already dangerous phenomenon that is becoming progressively more dangers as it feeds off the undercurrent of indifference that suffuses so much of society today. The progress of each generation of youth is vitally important to all members of society, and indeed, only through the efforts of society as a whole can we be assured of success.
One reason that violence is so rampant today is that the stereotypes and ideals of our society have grown to hold it in high esteem. Violence saturates popular culture in virtually every medium. Our society places a premium on its more physical components, such as the athlete, while holding its scholars and academics in scandalously low regard. If we continue to esteem those people who can lift the heaviest barbell or run the quickest touchdown over those who actually make a valid contribution to society, then we can hardly be surprised when a generation of children grows up with the impression that physical dominance is the key to success. What began as harmless games have developed into multimillion-dollar industries in which literally thousands of adult people make a career. We are not cave men, to worship the biggest and strongest among us, and it is high time we quit acting like it. Society as a whole, but particularly the educational system, needs to drastically shift the extracurricular influence from popularity contests and athletics to intellectual competitions and academics.
A poor family life can also serve to greatly exacerbate the problem of school violence. All too often today parents are willing to have children, but not to raise them. For these children, the battle often seems lost before it is begun. A solution must be reached, however. These at risk children should be identified very early, and should receive counseling and support. It may also be helpful if the parents were involved in parental education seminars, to help them better raise their children. It is very difficult to help a child that the parents aren’t willing to help themselves, and unless stricter parental negligence laws are passed, the children will have to receive their support from sources outside of their family.
Mental disorders often increase a person’s propensity for violence. With view of our mandatory education system, one way to prevent many of the people with mental disorders from becoming violent is to increase the presence and activity of trained counselors in the schools. These should not be just counselors for college admissions or some other entirely different job. These need to be certified mental health counselors. They should work with parent and student alike to ensure that a proper level of care and therapy is administered. Mandatory review sessions with such a counselor may be necessary for all students. It is important to realize, however, that when the seriousness of the problem is recognized to be beyond the level of a minor behavioral disorder, a true mental health specialist should be consulted.
In conclusion, the problem of school violence is a problem of many sides. It will take the involvement of society from several different fronts to effectively reduce the incidents of violence in the schools. If a serious and concerted effort is made by society to control the issue, however, it should be met with resounding success. This is a very important battle for society.

4.7 Is Violence Inevitable? - Essay
Essay by Adam S, Age 15, Male, Sophomore,
and Justin S, Age 15, Male, Sophomore

In order to fully understand the nature of violent acts,  one must ask the question of whether violence is inevitable or not.  Most people believe that violence is a permanent part of our society for several reasons.  First, violence is part of our human nature.  Over thousands of years of civilization, we as a species have been exposed to several acts of violence.  Violence has been used to settle disputes between countries, races, and ethnic groups.  Plus, with rapidly increasing technology becoming more available, more people have had access to the media (television, newspapers, movies, and video games), which display violent programs or scenes.
Other ideas present the problem of people who are not willing to be taught.  Some people ignore others who are trying to solve violence problems, thus making it difficult to instill ideas of self worth and worth of others.  Some of these people are members of gangs and other ‘clubs’, which use violence as a way to gain power.  For others, violence is used to gain personal pride.  Peer pressure plays a big part in gang or group violence.  These people are also the ones who will not want to learn right and wrong, leaving a few in society that will continue being violent.
Other people believe that violence is not necessarily inevitable in our society.  If people are taught self-control at an early age, whether at school, church, or at home, then a great deal of violence could be prevented.  Second, the environment that a child is raised in plays a significant part in developing the child's personality.  If society does not condone violence, then children will learn from their surroundings and not use violence as an acceptable means of solving conflicts
Whether someone believes that violence is inevitable or not, there are ways to control and prevent certain acts of violence from occurring.  First, and foremost, the environment that a child is raised in needs to be supporting, loving, and caring.  This environment should contain responsible guardians, whether they be teachers, parents, or church members, who are willing to help a child learn respect for himself and others.  This will prevent many of the possible violent acts from occurring in the future.  Also, restraint and self control must be taught and stressed throughout life.  The media, particularly television, movies, and video games, should monitor what is being produced and should halt or hinder the manufacture of violent programs or games.  This action is important because by the time a teenager is 18, they have probably seen thousands of violent acts over media sources.  By controlling what is produced, the media can significantly reduce the number of people who are influenced by violence.
One of the most influential places that a child goes to is school.  School should be a place where children can escape violence.  Teachers have the greatest influence on students.  If teachers and administrators respect students, then the students will in turn respect the teachers.  Administrators must also take more action against violent students by isolating them from the general student body and dealing with them in a calm, rational way.  Counseling should also be readily available for students whom teachers feel need counseling or if the student feels that he needs it.
In many of the recent cases of school violence, the perpetrator has told someone of their intent. Students need to report any such statements, no matter how trivial they seem.  Teachers need to be aware of any threats and should take them very seriously.  Administrators should investigate any threats that have been reported.  Throughout school, teachers should teach students constructive, nonviolent methods to deal with stress, peer pressure, and conflicts.
It may be too idealistic to believe the violence can be completely eliminated, however, many of the suggestions above can potentially help to reduce the number of violent acts.  It is hoped that these suggestions will be thoroughly looked over and considered as possible remedies to the epidemic of teen violence.