Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Violence in the School Setting: A School Nurse Perspective

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Violence in the School Setting: A School Nurse Perspective

Article excerpt

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2013J defines school violence as acts of violence committed during the school day, on school property, on the way to and from school or at school sponsored events, and as a "subset of youth violence, a broader public health problem (para. 1)" that typically occurs in children ages 10-24, although patterns can also be recognized in in early childhood. At first look, it seems as if the incidence of violent acts in the school setting is increasing. Certainly, the increase in social media and around-the-clock news coverage paints this picture. Schools and school nurses are seeing the effects of violence in many forms. Homicides among children, both during and outside of the school day, are the most obvious violence, followed by assaults and weapons brought to school. In 2010, homicide was the fourth leading cause of death for children ages 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for children ages 15-19. In 2011, among persons ages 10 to 24 years, the non-fatal assault-related injury rate for males was 1279.6 per 100,000 persons; the rate for females was 847.2 per 100,000 (CPC. 2013!. While not all of these incidents occur within schools, with an estimated 50 million children aged 3 to 21 enrolled in school, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade CU.S. Department of Education. 2013J. many of these assaults happen to school children.

Less visible statistically are the effects of witnessed violence and increased prevalence of violence as a coping mechanism in schools and the community. Children who witness violence, even as infants, have been shown to experience mental health distress. This can result in behavior and mental health issues during the school day. Violence in schools has become a significant health risk and is not limited to violent acts committed in the school setting but also how violence in homes, neighborhoods and communities affect the learning and behaviors of children at school (Selekman. Pelt. Garnier. & Baker. 2013!

The effects of violence on school performance and behavior typically fall into three categories: school violence as defined by the CDC, witnessed violence, and cultural norms of using violence as a problem solving mechanism (Selekman. Pelt. Garnier, & Baker. 2013: World Health Organization 2009). Each of these will be discussed related to their contribution to the escalating effects of violence In schools, including bullying, physical violence, weapons, school shootings, behavioral Issues and psychological problems. School nurses serve on the front-line of problem identification and Intervene to diminish the effects of violence on both school children as Individuals and on populations In schools and the community. This article describes ways In which school nurses deal with violence and concludes with discussion of potential responses to violence, Including the school nurse response to violence and Implications for other healthcare professionals.

School Violence

School and youth violence has Increased dramatically in the past decade. While It is often suggested that the media has sensationalized school violence, It is the perception of school administrators and teachers also that violence In schools has Increased significantly In the past two decades (Wynne & Joo, 2011). Youth violence Is defined as "the Intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person or against a group or community that results In or has a high likelihood of resulting In Injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation" (Dahlberg & Krug. 2002. p 1084). Intent to harm is not a factor in this definition as there may be a disparity between actions and consequences when violent acts are committed by youth. Shootings, fights, possession of weapons, and bullying are common types of school related violence; statistics for each will be discussed briefly below.

School Shootings

The most horrific and publicized of these violent acts are school shootings. …

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