Developing a Culture of Nonviolence in Schools

Developing a Culture of Nonviolence in Schools

Matshidiso Joyce Taole (University of South Africa, South Africa) and Simon George Taukeni (University of Namibia, Namibia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7476-7.ch006
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Violence is a common occurrence in schools and poses a threat to education as a vehicle of economic development and economic freedom. The chapter aims at discussing factors that can promote the development of a culture of non-violence in schools. However, it is important that causes of violence in schools be understood before making suggestions on how to make schools safe for our children. There are numerous factors that contribute to school violence such as the curriculum, poverty, teachers, students' home life, the external environment of the school, and socio-economic factors. The authors argue that collaboration between different stakeholders is important if schools wish to reclaim their former glory of being centers of excellence and agents of social change. This chapter suggests that it is through education and empowering children, parents, teachers, and the community at large that we can achieve a culture of peace and non-violence in schools.
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Causes Of School Violence

The increasing level of violence in and around schools is cause for great concern. There is no doubt that school violence is a serious problem that requires more attention from all involved in education (Eisenbraun, 2007). School violence is a global phenomenon that affects all nations of the world (Akiba, LeTendre, Baker & Goesling, 2002). The main task is to find the deep roots of school violence, and this is not an easy task, considering the multifaceted nature of school violence.

Violence is evident in the educational, social, family and political spaces. In some instances, violence in schools is a mirror of what is happening in the communities where those schools are. In other words, learners are violent because of the violence that they experience in their communities. Schools are expected to be nurturing environments that create a sense of safety among students. Yet, according to Altun and Baker (2010), violence in schools causes a decrease in students’ academic success, decay in the school climate, and drop-outs, and creates psychological ill-being.

Researchers have made attempts to dig deeper in discovering the root causes of violence. For instance, Furlong and Morrison (2000) pointed out that the problem of school violence is multifaceted and encompasses both the perpetrators and victims of violence. It also engenders a feeling of fear and insecurity, entails criminal and antisocial behaviour and places demands on the disciplinary system established by the school (Furlong & Morrison, 2000). Ncontsa and Shumba (2013) revealed the following as some of the causes of school violence:

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