School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender

By Rami Benbenishty; Ron Avi Astor | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Weapons in School

In this chapter, we examine the issue of weapons in secondary schools. We think this topic requires separate treatment because of its inherent significance and the unique characteristics surrounding weapon use. The presence of firearms and knives in schools is considered one of the most threatening and dangerous aspects of school violence. The mass shootings in U.S. schools heightened public awareness and worries with regard to the use of lethal weapons in schools across the world. In fact, zero tolerance policies mainly target the possession of any kind of weapon on school grounds and dictate severe and uncompromising sanctions for those who violate them.

We examine weapons on school grounds from several vantage points intended to further theory, methodology, and conceptual development of the subject. We focus on areas and issues that are not addressed fully in the literature, and we report on the various modes of exposure to weapons among secondary school students in Israel, including bringing a weapon to school, seeing a weapon on school grounds, being threatened by a student using a weapon, and being injured by a student using a knife or another object. We distinguish between guns, knives, and other objects (such as clubs) and examine how different forms of weapon victimization are associated with student background factors of gender, age, and ethnic group. We explore further how other types of victimization at school are related to bringing weapons to school. Finally, we examine how fear is connected with bringing weapons to school.


THE MANY FACES OF VICTIMIZATION BY WEAPONS
ON SCHOOL GROUNDS

Research on youth possession and use of weapons, especially guns, is quite extensive (see reviews in McKeganey & Norrie, 2000; Mercy & Rosenberg, 1998). We

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