The Role of Teachers and School Leaders in K-12 School Violence

The Role of Teachers and School Leaders in K-12 School Violence

Renee D. Lamphere (University of North Carolina – Pembroke, USA) and Kweilin T. Lucas (University of North Carolina – Greensboro, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6246-7.ch021

Abstract

While data regarding school violence are gathered on a regular basis, noticeably missing from the literature are incidents that involve violence directed toward K-12 teachers and school leaders. The scarce evidence that does exist regarding this phenomenon suggests that this population is targeted more often than one may think, and they suffer from great harm as a result of various violent behaviors such as harassment, verbal threats and intimidation, bullying, property offenses, and physical attacks. Since very little is known about violence that is directed toward K-12 teachers and school leaders, there is a significant need for more research in this area in order to provide a more comprehensive view of school violence and to develop policies and formulate effective solutions. Addressing these issues will not only allow teachers and school leaders to perform to the best of their abilities, but school environments will be safer so that learning can take place without the interruption of violence.
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The Nature And Extent Of K-12 School Violence

Before discussing the role of teachers and school leaders in K-12 school violence, it is important to first address the nature and extent of violent behavior as it occurs in school settings. When defining K-12 school violence, there is often a tendency to focus on incidents in terms of violent deaths, such as those that occurred during the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre. While homicides of school age youth are included with prevalence rates for school violence, conceptualizations should also encompass consequences that go beyond death. For example, when researching school violence, one must also consider non-deadly physical violence. In essence, these types of behaviors include the carrying of weapons on school property, threats of violence, and bullying behaviors. Indeed, most violent incidents that occur in schools do not end in fatalities. However, in few cases, violent incidents can result in death. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2017), 31 violent deaths had occurred in public schools between July 2013 and June 2014. Though these incidents are rare, numbers show that non-fatal incidents are more common. In fact, the number of non-fatal incidents in schools are increasing. During the 2013-2014 academic year, 65% of public schools recorded one or more violent incidents, which resulted in approximately 757,000 violent incidents or 15 crimes per 1,000 students (U.S. Department of Education, 2017). These statistics are concerning and, as the following discussion demonstrates, do not only include students as the targets of violence.

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