Schools Biggest Threat

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Schools' Biggest Threat

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This article discusses bullying and depression among students and the
resulting school shootings that partly may have resulted from those

Depression, Anxiety

Article Body:
What do W.R. Myers High School, Heritage High School, Columbine High
School and Virginia Tech, have in common aside from being academic
institutions? Do the names Todd Cameron Smith, Thomas Solomon Jr., Eric
Harris, Dylan Klebold and Cho Seung-Hui sound familiar? What is the
common factor among those persons mentioned earlier? Why is it important
to talk about their situation? This is basically what this article is all
about. The relationship among those questions posted initially will be
shown as the answers are revealed one by one.

      Schools are considered by most parents as their children's second
home. This may be because most students actually spend more time in
school than at home. These institutions are also known as places of
learning and it is of great importance that the atmosphere and condition
in these places are conducive for such undertaking. Also, most parents
expect their children to be safe and secure in school. However, the
situations in W.R. Myers High School, Heritage High School, Columbine
High School and Virginia Tech during 4 fateful days were far from being
conducive for learning. It was on 28 April 1999, 20 May 1999, 20 April
1999 and 16 April 2007 when several students were killed during school
shootings at W.R. Myers High, Heritage high, Columbine High and Virginia
Tech, respectively. These tragedies are just four of the several school
shootings that have happened in the United States since 1966. Because of
the increasing incidence of this type of crime, law enforcers, parents,
teachers, and other concerned citizens are now taking action to come up
with a solution for this problem.

      Todd Cameron Smith killed one student and injured two others at
W.R. Myers High School when he was just 14 years old. Thomas Solomon Jr.
was a 15-year-old sophomore at Heritage High School when he brought a
rifle and a handgun to school and randomly shot and injured six students.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were both students at Columbine High School
when they bombed their school cafeteria, killed 12 students and a
teacher, and injured 24 others before committing suicide. Cho Seung-Hui
was a 23-year-old senior at Virginia Tech when he killed 32 students and
injured a lot more before also committing suicide. All five students are
said to have experienced being bullied in their respective schools, thus,
partly being the cause of those students' anxiety problems or depression.
Also, their aggression towards others resulting to crimes committed may
also be partly attributed to their depression and the experience of

      In 1998, the National Institute of Child Health and Development
(NICHD) conducted a survey on bullying among 15,686 6th to 10th grades
students all over America. The survey showed that 30% of those students
who participated have either experienced being a bully, had been victims
of bullying or both. From the survey, it was further determined that
nationwide, 3.2 million kids or teenagers were being bullied while 3.7
million others are bullies. Another study done by NICHD correlated the
act of bullying and of being bullied with depressive and suicidal
tendencies among those who have experienced it. The study indicated that
“frequently, bullied kids are more depressed and suicidal.” Figures also
reflected that among those who took part in the survey and had
experienced being bullied, 26% of girls and 16% of boys have moderate to
severe depression while eight percent (8%) of girls and four percent (4%)
of boys are suicidal. Though it is said that bullies have higher
tendencies to commit crimes, the profile of most attackers in school
shootings are mostly those of the victims of bullying. This is supported
by a study also done by NICHD which stated that “those who have both
experienced being bullied and being bullies may be more at-risk and more

      Various preventive measures have been promoted in response to the
school shootings that have occurred over the past few years. Security
within schools have been improved which included stricter screening of
students who could possibly be carrying illegal firearms or weapons into
campus. However, organizations such as Fight Crime: Invest In Kids and
the US Secret Service suggest that getting to the root of the problem
rather than just mere physical security will provide the best solution to
address the serious situation. Considering that these school shootings
somehow resulted from distress in school caused by bullying, efforts
should also be directed to setting up programs that would prevent these
types of negative or destructive behavior among students. Nowadays, there
are already existing anti-bullying and anti-aggression programs such as
the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program which is implemented in the US and
in other countries. These programs aim to increase awareness about
bullying among parents, teachers and students; create rules in school
that prevent bullying; provide positive consequences for those who avoid;
and negative consequences for those who engage in bullying.

      Through these preventive measures and awareness programs, both
government and non-governments organizations, as well as numerous
concerned citizens, hope to avoid another Columbine or Virginia Tech
incident. It is also a way of keeping the image of schools as
institutions for learning with assurance of safety and security.
Preventing the incidence of bullying not only answers problems with
depression among the youth but also decreases the rise in youth crimes.