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School And Youth Violence Statistics: “5 Shocking Facts You Need To Know”

A 2011 survey demonstrated that 32% of high school students in grades 9-12 were in at least one physical altercation during the preceding year. Statistics on school violence reveal that school violence is not an anomaly; indeed, more than a third of American high school students report physical or verbal altercations.

Youth school violence is defined as violence that occurs at school, at school sponsored events, and on the way to or from school- when treated as a crime- has the potential to land parents in jail or saddle them with significant fines and fees.

School violence cannot be dismissed as “someone else’s kid” or “bad parenting”; rather, it is a community wide problem which needs to be addressed on multiple levels with many stakeholders. It is important to recognize that school violence is widespread and that parents, communities, and school officials need to take ownership in reducing school violence. School violence statistics reveal that in 2011, even the mere threat of violence kept 6% of youth home from school in any given 30 day period.
  1. Parental Criminal & Civil Liability: Statistics show that every state except New Hampshire has some form of parental responsibility legislation which holds responsible for the crimes committed by their children. As more and more children are transferred from the school disciplinary process to juvenile courts, greater numbers of parents will be subject to parental liability statutes.

    Statistics about school and juvenile violence have led many states to enact legislation which holds parents both civilly and criminally liable for the actions of their under-age children. School violence, such as bullying or fighting, is increasingly processed in the juvenile court system, where youth offenders are charged under criminal and civil statutes. Fears about juvenile crime and school violence have fueled the push to hold parents strictly liable for youth crime.

    Many statutes simply transfer liability from the child to the parent once the child is convicted regardless of whether any negligence can be proven on the part of the parent. The mere act of failing to control one’s child can subject parents to civil and criminal penalties. States such as Alabama and North Carolina have passed city ordinances and state statutes which hold parents liable for “aiding in delinquency”. If convicted, parents face a penalty of fines and/or up 90 days in jail.

    In states such as California, parents can be arrested when their children are the suspect of a crime and will be prosecuted unless they enter mediation or show an attempt to control the actions of their children. Often times, the courts will order mandatory counseling for parents whose children commit crimes.

  2. Cyber Bullying: Statistics on school violence demonstrate that 24% of students have been the victim of cyberbullying at least once over the course of their school careers. Cyberbullying is bullying which takes placed electronically. Cyberbullying can include sending harassing text messages and threats through email or through social networking sites. Transmitting embarrassing pictures, videos, creating fake profiles, and/or derogatory websites are all common forms of cyberbullying.

    Whereas bullying activity was limited to the iconic hazing of math and science students in years past, today’s bullying activity extends beyond the school in to the realm of the internet. Modern day bullying activity compounds the pain of physical and emotional torment with continued ostracisation and threats electronically even off school grounds. Cyberbullying has led to suicides by adolescent youth and in 2013. Countries such as Canada, began arresting youth involved in cyber bullying where the victims succeeded in committing suicide.

  3. Sexting Among Adolescent Youth Leads To Child Pornography Prosecutions: According to Ms. Levick, the Chief Counsel of the Juvenile Law Center, child pornography statutes often define child pornography narrowly as a “depiction of a nude minor.” Sexting, where adolescent youth, text their significant others nude or semi-nude images fits this literal definition in the child pornography statutes of many states. When students disseminate the nude or semi-nude images as a bullying tactic, what was an act of school violence rapidly becomes a bona fide adult level crime.

    When the images of the nude or semi-nude adolescent youth are discovered by school officials in confiscated phones, or emails, the evidence is turned over to the police. In many cases, prosecutors across the country have used the images to charge both the sender and recipient under the child pornography laws. Acts of school violence which exploit the nude images of one’s peers, friends, or enemies are rapidly becoming common place. Indeed, 20% of surveyed students have admitted to engaging in sexting.

    Ridicule and electronic assaults are no longer a matter of school violence alone, increasing numbers of adolescent youth engaged in such practices at school are being prosecuted under adult felony statutes. Schools currently serve as the primary source for evidence of sexting images and frequently involve the police the moment the images are discovered.

  4. Youth Homicides And Serious Assaults Cost The Economy 16 Billion: The CDC Reports that in 2010, the latest year for which data is available, nearly 5,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 were victims of homicide. School violence articles demonstrate that assaults with a deadly weapon account for a small percentage of total school violence. But because such assaults are committed with dangerous and illegal weapons including guns and knives, they account for the lion’s share of serious injuries and fatalities.

    The overwhelming majority of the adolescents, 82%, were killed with a fire arm. The second leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 is death by homicide. The costs of youth related homicides and severe assaults are extensive. The CDC’s report on Youth Violence reveals that “youth homicides and assault-related injuries result in an estimated 16 billion in combined medical and work- loss costs.” In addition to the emotional fall out in schools and communities where students and families lose their loved ones to homicide, the ancillary economic costs are also significant.

  5. The Origins of Youth Violence Are Multifaceted: Academics have demonstrated that many external factors can influence the likelihood that youth will commit acts of violence. Risk factors and risky behavior include substance addictions, problems at home with the family, failing classes, previous disciplinary problems and peer pressure from delinquent youth. Note that the same risk factors and risky behavior increase the likelihood that youth will experience violence or commit acts of violence.

    A holistic understanding of youth violence is essential to building prevention programs which address all aspects of the lives of adolescent youth. Researchers at the National Initiative to Prevent Youth Violence have developed a “Socio-Ecological Model” which demonstrates the relationship between societal, community related, relationship based, and individual factors in youth violence. Ensuring students have access to non-school related supports such as mentors, adequate mental health care, and social services are absolutely vital to decreasing youth violence in and out of school.
By reading articles, statistics and solutions about school violence that worked in schools and communities across the United States and beyond, parents and educators will be better informed in their efforts to reduce school violence. Discuss these facts and use them to make informed decisions when addressing and creating solutions to school youth violence in your own community.

Another module written by this author is at: Teachers Test Prep page.

References:
  1. National Initiative To Prevent Youth Violence http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/stryve_foundational_resource-a.pdf
  2. Parental Responsibility Statutes http://www.stetson.edu/law/lawreview/media/parental-responsibility-statutes-and-the-programs-that-must-accompany-them-27-2.pdf
  3. Prosecuting Sexting As Child Pornography http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1070&context=vulr
  4. Youth Violence Facts At A Glance http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf