Youth violence has become an important issue in today’s society, and many people looking for a way to downsize this teen violence surge. However, “as youth violence becomes more and more common many people are accepting the idea that ‘kids will be kids,’ and that they will occasionally blow each others’ brains out,” (Bromdon 2). In order to be assured that our society does not gain a lackadaisical look at teen violence, such as the fictional society in Michel’s book, one must first look at youth violence in America today, secondly explore possible causes for youth violence, and finally find solutions that will help stop youth violence. First off, in order to curb the rise in youth violence it is necessary to realize how serious this problem truly is.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “There are three million crimes committed on school campuses every year. That’s sixteen thousand crimes per day – one crime every six seconds. ” Even more frightening is the fact that thirty-five percent of high school students in high crime areas report carrying a firearm regularly. Juvenile arrests accounted for thirteen percent of all violent crimes in 1996, and thirty percent of all juvenile homicide arrests occurred in just four cities: New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. “The number of juveniles arrested for non-traffic related offenses, in the past five years, has risen fifty-eight percent,” according to the afore-mentioned Chicago Tribune article.
These statistics show a drastic increase in youth violence, and they show, quite clearly, how serious this problem truly is. Due to this dramatic increase in youth violence many questions have arisen. Namely, who is accountable? And, mostly, no one is really sure. Many different groups have been blamed. Schools, the home, and the media are all accused perpetrators of youth violence. Still, it seems as if a complete picture is found only when examining all three of these pictures and placing blame on them individually.
Concern about school violence, crime, and victimization has permeated the education system since the 1950s (Ausmussen 31). The problem of violence at schools persisted and increased to the point that in 1974 Congress mandated a national survey on school violence. This mandate resulted in the Safe Schools Study, which revealed some disturbing trends in the nation’s schools. The results of this early survey were somewhat unexpected, and they spurred continued interest in the nature and extent of school crime and violence, as well as their impact on students and school staff and their economic and social costs.
One major concern was how students are affected by violence at school. According to the Safe Schools Study, “many students reported high levels of fear and concern about their safety and security,” (Ausmussen 31). These concerns prompted several efforts stop school violence, and convinced the National Crime Victimization Survey to include questions about school violence in its annual survey. A National League of Cities study (1994), found that nearly one out of every twenty high school students (4. 4 percent) said they had missed at least one school day because they did not feel safe at or on the way to school.
Younger, rather than older, students were more likely to miss a day because of fear for their safety. Nearly twelve percent of students (18 percent of boys and 5 percent of girls) reported carrying a weapon to school at least once during the thirty days preceding the survey, and seven percent said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon at school in the past year. Sixteen percent said they had been in a physical fight in the past year, and nearly one-third said they had property (books, clothing, or a vehicle) deliberately damaged .