Parameters of Violence

Dr. Joyce Wortham is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Alabama who has interviewed child victims of violence in the schools. Questions for Thought: 1. What are some of the reasons for the violent behavior of today's youth? 2. What are some ways of reducing or preventing violence and aggression? I. Pre-existing Factors

A. Prenatal influences B. Disorders C. Difficult temperament D. Expectations E. Modeling behavior F. Failure to bond, neglect

II. Family Factors

A. Poor management skills B. Parental distance and uninvolvement C. Pathological limitations D. Imprisoned family members E. Stressful family events

Ill. School-related Factors

A. Inadequate curriculum B. Inadequate structure C. Availability of guns D. Gangs, cults, and other groups E. Availability of drugs F. Racial conflict

IV. Reducing Involvement in Violence

A Focus on positive events B. Move beyond denial and teach new values C. Build on students' cultures D. Include students in problem-solving E. Increase the presence of adults F. Encourage school/community partnerships

Factors Associated With Violence

Dr. Joyce Wortham

Factors Associated With Violence That Exist Before The Student Enters School

A. Noxious prenatal influences such as viral infection, maternal stress, or maternal substance abuse. B. Neurophysiological, cognitive, and psychiatric disorders. C. A difficult temperament which is marked by impulsivity, irritability, and hyperactivity. D. Expectations of the family, neighborhood, community, and society. E. Modeling the behavior of parents, siblings, or television heroes. F. Failure to bond or suffering psychological neglect.

Family Factors Associated With Violence

A. Inadequate parental management skills. B. Parental distance and uninvolvement. C. Parental limitations and pathology (including substance abuse, mental illness, and cognitive disabilities. D. Criminality of family members. E. Stressful events within the family such as poverty and homelessness.

School-Related Factors That Precipitate Violent Behaviors

A. Inadequacy of the school curriculum to address academic and behavioral needs of students. B. Inadequacy of school "structure" regarding policies, procedures, physical plant, and staff. C. Guns are easily accessible and brought to school. D. Gangs, cults, and other group influences are present within the school. E. The availability of drugs and drug traffic in schools. F. Racial conflict and division among cultural groups.

Statistics on Violence

1. Crimes Committed by juveniles have decreased as measured by both gross numbers and percentages of all crimes. Arrests of juveniles have declined- 2. The seriousness of juvenile crimes has increased, because the crimes are more violent. Guns have replaced fists and switchblades. 3. Juvenile homicide has increased. 4. In 1990 the juvenile arrest rate was 15% of all arrests as opposed to 1975, when juvenile arrests were 26% of all arrests. 5. Today, total crime in the US is at a 20 year low. 6. Juveniles are committing more violent crimes at earlier ages. Many juvenile offenders are third-generation violent offenders. 7. Social values about crime are changing. For example, a survey by Joseph Skeley and M. Dwayne Smith of Tulane University found that 20% of students at one suburban high school saw nothing wrong with shooting someone who had stolen something from them. Sanuer, C. (1995), Standing Up To Violence, Bloomington, IN; Kappan Special Report.