School violence is not a new problem in the U.S., but it’s a gravely serious one. A nationwide survey in 2019 revealed that 20% of high school students are bullied, and 8% of students had been in a physical fight on school property in the year prior to the survey.
In 2021, there were at least 49 deaths and 126 injuries from 202 incidents of gunfire on school property in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified different types of school violence that disrupt learning and negatively impact students, schools, and communities. These 5 types of school violence are:
- Bullying and cyberbullying
- Physical fighting
- Weapon use
- Gang violence
- Sexual violence
The CDC also reports that 7% of high school students have been injured by or threatened with a weapon on school property, and 9% of students report avoiding school for at least one day because they feared for their safety.
5 Types of School Violence
Prevention and early action are crucial for curbing school violence, and according to a report by the U.S. Secret Service, there are usually signs that a student is moving toward committing acts of violence.
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Harmful to students on all sides of the issue, acts of bullying and cyberbullying are often a result of personal stress. These offenses can be in-person or done over the internet, and both are equally destructive.
Unfortunately, students who are bullied often struggle academically, engage in self-harm, and develop anxiety.
Although for the most part physical fighting has decreased over the last decade, it’s still happening. Physical fighting can often signal relational problems within families or cultural problems within the school or community. In addition, this type of fighting often hints at the presence of underlying bullying problems.
While physical fighting is decreasing, weapon use is a category of school violence that is increasing at frightening rates. In 2020, gunfire on school grounds in the U.S. happened 84 times, injuring 40 and killing 19.
The harm caused by weapon use in schools goes beyond physical injury. It also involves the fear and trauma it causes to witnesses and victims in addition to the interruption in learning.
Almost 10% of public school students in 2019 stated that gangs are a problem in their schools. Gangs are involved in bullying, trafficking, drugs, weapons, and more. They destroy property and bring harm to students and are not always out in plain sight.
Sexual violence isn’t always physical; it also happens in an online environment and through mobile devices. In the latest CRDC survey done in the 2017–2018 school year, it was revealed that sexual violence increased by more than 55% over the survey done the previous year.
Preventing Types of Violence in Schools
One prevention tactic that is often recommended is for schools to aggressively engage in cloud monitoring, browser monitoring, and social media monitoring for violence signals. Monitoring schools’ technology can potentially help spot safety issues that include things like:
- Student suicide
- Toxic online behavior
While monitoring can effectively identify some students who are in crisis before they initiate a violent act, it is controversial, and there is more that must be done to prevent school violence.
Solutions for School Violence
Understanding and managing emotions is an enormous part of being able to decrease student isolation, school violence, and a lack of empathy and safety in schools. Creating a culture of kindness and compassion in schools addresses the root causes of school violence.
Rachel’s Challenge proactively reaches students through assemblies and classroom speaking opportunities to boost empathy, compassion, acceptance, and self-esteem in every student while teaching the tools of transforming school culture to prevent violence
After experiencing Rachel’s Challenge programs and presentations, schools report less bullying, less student isolation, and fewer disciplinary referrals. The key is building up vital emotional skills and coping skills in students as everyone in school fosters a learning environment that is safe, healthy, and supportive.
Rachel’s Challenge offers age-appropriate live training, digital training, assemblies, and supportive materials that bring about true change in schools by focusing on mental health and social-emotional learning.
All of the different types of school violence is preventable. Rachel’s Challenge has saved at least 150 students annually, averted eight school shootings, and so far, trained 30 million students, parents, and educators. If you’re interested in learning what Rachel’s Challenge can do for your students, your schools, and your community, book an event or donate today.