According to the CDC, youth violence occurs when there is an intentional use of force or power to injure others. The age of those who are among the perpetrators, victims or witnesses of this violence is between the ages of 14-24. The good news is that youth violence is preventable!! According to Janet Benavente from Colorado State University, researchers agree on prevention resources for youth violence:
- Youth violence is learned and can be unlearned.
- Youth should be part of the solution for preventing violence.
- Because violence is such a complex issue, it requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach.
- Partnerships and collaborations work more effectively than individual efforts.
Why, as school counselors, should we be concerned with youth violence? According to the CDC, youth violence is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 14-24. Some staggering facts from the CDC include...
- 1 out of 4 high school students were in a fight in the past year.
- The number of youths involved in a homicide would fill 87 school buses.
- The number of youths requiring medical attention would fill up 9 stadiums.
- 7% of youths were threatened with a weapon.
- 1 out of 5 high school students were bullied at school and 1 out of 6 were bullied online.
- 7% of students did not go to school due to safety concerns.
- Medical care and lost wages due to youth violence exceeds $17.5 billion or enough money to put 271,000 students through college! Think how many counselors could be hired with that amount of money!!!
Understanding School Violence
Since there are many factors that contribute to youth violence, sometimes it is difficult to determine which factor(s) will influence aggression. There are four major factors that impact brutality among teens.
- Individual factors include past exposure to violence, impulsiveness, poor school achievement, and poor problem solving skills.
- Relationship factors consist of peer delinquency, family conflict, and poor parental supervision.
- Community factors are homelessness or frequent moving by the family, weak economy, gang activity, and crime.
- Societal concerns include acceptable norms of violence, limited education, and limited economic opportunities.
Although there are many risk factors for youth violence, there are also many protective factors that prevent violence among youth as well.
Some of these protective factors include:
Perceived sanctions for misbehavior
Warm and caring family
Commitment to school
Recognition for involvement in conventional activities
Peers who participate in conventional activities
Youth Violence Awareness
How as school counselors can we expand these preventive factors in school? Each year, Students Against Violence Everywhere or SAVE coordinates an awareness campaign to reduce youth violence in schools. This year, SAVE has chosen a different theme for each day of National Youth Violence Awareness (March 23-27).
Day 1: Promote Respect and Tolerance
Day 2: Manger Your Anger
Day 3: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully
Day 4: Support Safety
Day 5: Unite in Action
National Youth Violence Awareness Month Activities
Think about hosting a youth violence awareness week. If you want to extend your violence awareness program for the entire month, I have attached other violence awareness topics and 75 different resources to help you educate students, parents, and staff in your school!! Feel free to share any ideas and I will post them on my blog!
Other Violence Awareness Topics
Active Shooter Awareness
Active Shooter: How to Respond
Pacers: National Bullying Prevention
Bullying and Suicide Prevention Webinars
Bullying Prevention Training Module
Bullying Prevention Toolkit
Bullying Prevention: A Classroom Discussion
Bullying Students with Special Needs
Creating a Safe Space for LGBTQ Students: Online Training
Cyberbullying Tips for Administrators
CDC: Electronic Aggression Podcast
Recognizing Gangs in Our Community
Working With Parents in Gang Prevention
Gang Culture 101
Recognizing Gangs in Schools
Influencers of Gang Involvement
Internet Banging: Social Media Gang Related Violence
Sexual and Dating Violence
Break the Cycle: Dating Violence Curriculum
Safe and Supportive Schools: Preventing, Intervening, and Accessing Teen Dating Abuse
Preventing and Responding to Dating Violence
Men & Boys: Preventing Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence
Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault
Online Learning Tools: Violence Against Women
Gender Based Violence: What Schools Can Do
Rape Prevention and Education
Training Tools on Human Trafficking
How Human Trafficking Impacts Schools
Human Trafficking 101 for Administrators and Staff
CASEL: Collaborate for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
CDC: Injury and Violence Prevention Podcast
Creating Safe and Respectful Environment- in Classrooms Training Toolkit
Find Youth Info: Preventing Youth Violence
Importance of Education in Reducing Delinquency
National Crime Prevention Council
National School Safety Center
Safe and Supportive Schools
Safe and Civil Schools
Safe School Information
Threat Assessment in Schools
CDC: Youth Violence Prevention
State Safe School Resources
Arkansas Safe Schools Initiative
California Safe Schools
Colorado School Safety Resource Center
Prevention Works Connecticut
Florida Safe Schools
Georgia Center for School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management
Indiana School School Safety
Kentucky Center for School Safety
Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center
Mississippi Division of School Safety
Missouri Center for Educational Safety
Montana Safe Schools
Nebraska School Safety Center
North Carolina Center for Safer Schools
Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition
Ohio Safer Schools
Pennsylvania Center for Schools and Communities
Tennessee School Safety Center
Texas School Safety Center
Virginia Center for School Safety
Washington School Safety
John Hopkins: Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
University of Colorado: Center for the Study & Prevention of Violence
University of Michigan: Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center
University of North Carolina: The NC Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention
University of Oregon: Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior
Virginia Commonwealth University for Positive Youth Development
Safe School Ambassadors
SAVE: Students Against Violence Everywhere
SADD: Students Against Destructive Decisions