Aspects of School Violence and Bullying

It's common knowledge that if we don't give our youth a safe environment to learn, then the tragedies we fear are bound to happen.

Darnell "Dynasty" Young, a 17-year-old high school student at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis, was expelled from school for bringing a stun gun to protect himself from bullies who would constantly harass him for being gay. Darnell's mother gave him the stun gun because the school refused to intervene, causing him to be the victim of name calling and physical abuse for over three years.

High school principal Larry Yarrell responded with victim-blaming language, saying that, "If you wear female apparel, then kids are kids and they're going to say whatever it is they want to say."

Many students from Arsenal Tech have come out in support for Young, stating that the school also did not do enough to protect them from harassment.

An article from The Indianapolis Star writes:

His grades already had slipped from A's and B's to F's, and Grimes said he was losing weight. His problems at school seeped into his home life. He said the stress at school did not go away when he got home, so he would fight with his mother and siblings. He moved in with a friend and started missing school. More than a month later, he moved back with his mother and tried to get a fresh start at Tech.

Darnell was expelled last week by the school board. His bullies have not received any punishment.

Closer to home, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week that a 15-year-old male student  lured a freshman female into an off-limits area at Germantown High School. The student then proceeded to rape her. No one came to her aid as she screamed for help.

This was not the first incident of sexual violence at Germantown High School. According to the Inquirer:

Over the last six years, 2005-06 through 2010-11, an analysis of incident data by The Inquirer uncovered 45 serious incidents at Germantown High in a basement area or stairwell. These crimes included assaults, morals offenses, robberies, and disorderly conduct that resulted in injury.
Eleven of them were sex offenses.
Basement or stairwell incidents represent 11 percent of the nearly 400 similar offenses that happened anywhere at the school. About 40 percent of all sex offenses at Germantown - 11 of 27 - took place in stairways or a basement, the analysis showed.
The incidents include forced and consensual acts as well as other morals offenses.

Safe Havens, a company hired by the state of Pennsylvania to evaluate safety in Philadelphia's schools stated that these incidents occur in other schools as well. Safe Havens reported that "unlocked classrooms, closets, auditoriums and boiler rooms frequently had been sites of sexual attacks elsewhere in the district."

We need to make a collaborative effort to prevent these acts of violence and bullying from occuring in our schools. Our discussion must go further than just talking. We must take action and follow through.

Please comment below discuss solutions to address school violence, so that we all can be involved in implementing practices to make our schools safer.

(Image from http://media.philly.com/images/022111_school_violence_400.jpg)

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