Academic journal article Education

The School Counselor as Leader of Efforts to Have Schools Free of Drugs and Violence

Academic journal article Education

The School Counselor as Leader of Efforts to Have Schools Free of Drugs and Violence

Article excerpt

The sixth National Education Goal for the year 2000 acknowledges the problem of violence in the public schools and serves to direct our attention to its solution. It reads as follows: "By the Year 2000, every school in america will be free of drugs and violence and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning." (U.S. Department of Education, 1992). Statistics reported in a variety of publications attest to the validity of our nation concern about violence in our public schools. Some examples are as stated below:

"One in 20 students will bring a gun to school at least once per month according to a U.S. Center for Disease Control report. Fall 1991 (Teacher Magazine. January, 1992).

Violent assaults in schools escalated 14 percent from 1987 to 1990 (Education USA, October 14, 1991).

91,000 of the 2.2 million classroom teacher were attacked in 1987 according to a National Education Association poll (Executive Educator, October, 1988).

28 percent of teachers in a National center for Educational Statistics survey reported physical conflict among student (Teacher Survey on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools, 1990-1991: Education Daily. December 5, 1991).

25 percent of 12th graders admitted that they had been threatened with violence and 14 percent were injured in the school according to the 1991 National Education Goals Report for 1990 (Education USA. October 14, 1991." (Landen, 1992).

Even though public schools have serious problems with violence, offering conflict-resolution and self-esteem enhancement classes, providing added counseling services and even punishing unacceptable behavior in isolation from the community will probably not be effective. It is contended that unless the community as a whole denounces violence, the school will not be able to provide a safe haven for students to learn. The growing emphasis in education on the whole child and the linkage of community services to meet children's needs for safety and well-seems to be a means for promoting school and community cooperation. Who can lead efforts to change school-community attitudes and behavior toward violence and coordinate programs for meeting physical and emotional security needs of children?

School counselors are positioned well to lead school-based community teams in systematic efforts to intervene and prevent violence and conflict among high-risk youth. (Smaby, Peterson, Bergmarm, Bacig & Swearingen, 1990; West & Idol, 1993. According to Kurpius and Rozecki (1992) school counselors have expanded their role to include outreach, advocacy and consultation. School counselors can lead their communities in combating violence through reaching out to the community for help, advocating for at-risk youth and their parents, and consulting with school-community teams charged with intervening and preventing violence. They can also help school and community member's view conflict violence, drug abuse and other at-risk behaviors from a developmental guidance perspective, thereby insuring that prevention and crisis intervention components are considered.

Developmental Guidance

Conflict resolution interventions are clearly within the role of the school counselor when at-risk behaviors are consider signs that an individual lacks the skills to achieve normal tasks of life development. Stroufe and Rutter (1984) emphasized the necessity of adhering to a developmental psychology framework for understanding at-risk behaviors, It also provides strong rational for having the school counselor lead efforts of the school, parents and community members for learners-at risk. The purpose of this manuscript is to help school counselors determine the severity of violence, willingness of their community to address violence and appropriateness of violence intervention and prevention programs for their school.

Outreach, Advocacy and

Consultation Services

In order to address violence, counselors may consider using outreach, advocacy and and consultation interventions. …

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