Fast food restaurants and shopping centers for years have had better security than many schools. Yet there are still people questioning security measures, such as cameras and police officers, being placed in our schools. In most fast food restaurants, you can only enter through a limited number of open doors. When you step inside, you are usually promptly greeted and asked how you can be helped. Many of these facilities have surveillance cameras inside and out, and even at the drive-through windows. Too often, we still do not see this level of security in some of our nation’s schools . Seriously – think about it: For years we have protected hamburger better than our school children and teachers. I find it interesting not only many students, but also many adults, don’t have a problem with police, security cameras, and other protection measures for their suburban shopping mall security or at a fast food restaurant. Yet some of these same individuals believe we should have a lower standard of protection for students and teachers in schools.
Does bullying cause suicide? You would think so if you read and hear some of the headlines, comments, and advocacy by anti-bullying law special interests following several suicides completed by youth who were reported victims of chronic bullying at school. I certainly do not question whether these kids were bullied. I do not question whether the bullying added significant stress to the lives of these kids and others who are chronically bullied. And I definitely do not minimize the seriousness of the losses of these innocent kids’ lives. But I am also not convinced that bullying onto itself is the sole cause of teens taking their own life. Being “bullied to death” makes quite a media headline and soundbite. But does it accurately reflect the sole cause of death implied by the use of such a phrase? I can see where chronic bullying could be the last straw in cases where deeper mental health issues exist with an individual, driving the individual over-the-top to completion of suicide.
Parents don’t know what they don’t know, and nobody is rushing to tell them. School crime statistics overall are underreported and unreliable. Student Victimization in U.S. Schools: Results For the 2007 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey was released this week. It didn’t take long for Tweets to pop up on Twitter announcing the report’s citations on students who were victims of bullying. The report highlighted “findings” which were so obvious, one would have to ask why the federal government would even ask such questions and perhaps more importantly, why they would think it would be some major revelation to readers:
“The percentage of student victims of violent crimes who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school (23.2 percent) was higher than that of nonvictims (4.9 percent) (figure 5 and table 7)”
“A higher percentage of students reporting any crime avoided specific places at school because of fear of attack or harm than did nonvictims (13.1 percent vs.