The Effects of Violence in Education Essay


            According to Andersen and Taylor (2009: 176), sociologists view violence as something that occurs behind a certain social context. There are some places, for instance, where violence occur more such as in the South and urban areas. They also mention that violence is more likely carried out against certain groups such as African American men and young Hispanic men in the United States. Among the mentioned groups, homicide is found to be the leading cause of death.

            Violence is becoming more rampant among the youth. According to WHO (2010), over 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence every year. Also, violence has been noted to be “the leading causes of death for people aged 15-44 years worldwide.” The possible causes of the increase in violence-related incidents have been widely researched and theorized on. However, studies on the effects of violence on the different aspects of society are yet to be given more focus by researchers.

Purpose of the Study

            The researcher has observed that there is an increase in violence-related incidents among youths. These violence-related incidents have even penetrated educational institutions, a place where security among students and employees should be assured. Therefore, it is the ultimate aim of this research to fill the gap in literatures concerning violence among youth by focusing on its effects on the education of the education of the youth who are noted to be both the perpetuators and victims of this violence on a higher scale that other age groups.

Problem Statement

            This research will aim to answer the general question: “What are the effects of violence on education?” Specifically, it aims to answer:

What is the effect of violence on the academic achievement of youths?
What is the effect of violence on the frequency of attendance of youths who are enrolled in educational institutions?
What is the effect of violence on the incidence of enrollees on educational institutions?

            Based on observation, the researcher has come up with the following hypotheses:

            Violence affects education.

            While working on this general hypothesis, the following sub-hypotheses will be constantly referred to:

Violence has a negative effect on the academic achievement of youths.
Violence has a negative effect on the frequency of attendance of youths who are enrolled in educational institutions.
Violence has decreased the incidence of enrollees on educational institutions.
Definition of Terms

Violence- violence will be used in this research to mean “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has or most likely will result to injury, death, psychological harm, underdevelopment or deprivation” (Koplan et. al. 1998: 7).
Educational Institutions- refers to the “entities that provide instructional aids to individuals and other educational institutions” (OECD 2001: 64).
Academic Achievement- refers to the educational attainment of a student as well as his or her positive performance in the educational institution that merits him or her recognition and awards.
Incidence of enrollees- refers to the number of enrollees in an educational institution each school year.

            This research is aimed at finding out the effects of violence on education. Primarily it wanted to find out if violence has negatively affected the academic achievement, frequency of attendance and incidence of enrollees among youths. It was found that violence has made academic achievement poor, has discouraged students from attending their classes and has decreased the number of enrollees in schools. Nonetheless, it is recommended that the efforts in mitigating violence be the responsibility of the community and the school, making it a collective effort.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

            This chapter presents the review of studies and literatures with regards to violence among youth occurring in educational institutions. Along with this, the researcher has also reviewed some literatures that focused on the possible causes of violence among youths of today.

Campus Violence

            Violence taking place in educational institutions are steadily increasing that researchers have found it interesting to study in-school violence. In a study by Björklund (et. al. 2010: 1416-1422) where an examination of the prevalence of various forms of violence victimization among university students in Finland, it was found that violence victimization and violence-related health issues were indeed notably prevalent among Finnish university students. There were reports of multiple forms of violence and injury from the students that demonstrated how diverse the violence victimization that occurred is.

            Meanwhile, Fox and Savage (2009: 1465-1485) compiled and discussed the recommendations that are often made by task force reports published in the wake of campus-related violence such as the Columbine shooting and the high-profile massacres at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. They found that some of the recommendations are fairly effective in increasing the security and well-being of the campus community. However, some of the recommendations were found to be “inappropriate and even carry unacceptable negative consequences.” Fox and Savage concluded that the problem partly lies “in the implicit assumption that the effective strategies for secondary schools will seamlessly translate to a college environment.” They do not ignore the fact, nonetheless, that there are other variables to look at such as assailant motivation and the educational institution’s own prevention and response strategies.

            The literatures show that there is, indeed, an alarming rate of violence happening in educational institutions. It is also alarming that these violent acts are multiple and diverse. In the worst cases, there has been an occurrence of mass murders inside a college campus where students are usually taken to be more mature and mentally stable that their teen-aged counterparts in high school.

The Occurrence of Violence at School and Mitigation Measures

            Researchers have also suggested several theories on why violence erupt in, supposedly, safe environments such as educational institutions. These researches were mainly aimed at calling the attention of policy makers to address the issues of violence that occur in educational institutions. Levin and Madfis (2009: 1227-1245) proposed a five-staged sequential model that brought together several criminological theories to explain the occurrence of mass murder committed by students at their schools. These stages are: 1. chronic strain or the long-term frustrations that are experienced early in life or in adolescence that lead to social isolation, 2. uncontrolled strain or the lack of pro-social support system which is also a resultant of the first stage, 3. acute strain or a short-term negative event that is also an effect of the previous stage, 4. the planning stage where a “a mass killing is fantasized about as a masculine solution to regain lost feelings of control” that actions are taken to realize the fantasy leading to the  final stage of 5 massacre. The schoolrooms and campuses are analyzed to be the target because the students are closely packed together and, thus, easier to corner and kill.

            Cowie (2008: 494-505), meanwhile, documented the importance of school violence and bullying in the U.K. They suggested that schools adopt mediating and restorative approaches in resolving violence in schools. They also emphasized the significance of the community, and not only the school, in taking responsibility for preventing the occurrence of violence. They concluded that violence will only be effectively regulated if there is “whole school approach” that is employed where everyone under the educational institution is encouraged to join in regulating violent acts.

            The first article tries to give an individual-level of analysis on the occurrence of violence in the campus. It also showed that the tendencies for violence may possibly an effect of a long-term emotional disturbance. The second article showed that collective participation is important if the community as well as educational institutions truly desire to regulate the occurrence of violence.

Developing Tendencies for Violence and Perceived Fear for Victimization

            The tendency to become violent has been suggested to be due to a long-term emotional instability of an individual. Sen (2010: 187-196) tried to find out if there is a relationship between the frequency of family dinners and selected problem behaviors for adolescents after adjusting for “family connectedness, parental awareness, other family activities, and other potentially confounding factors.” Sen found that there is a negative relationship of frequency of family dinner with substance abuse and running away for females; and physical violence, property-destruction, running away and stealing for males. Sen concluded that having family meals are negatively related to certain behavioral problems “even after controlling rigorously for potentially confounding factors” and thus, there are benefits to be gained from programs that promote family meals. This article shows that the family orientation of youths play a crucial role in determining their potential for being violent in the future. It indicates that an individual who has a strong support-group that comes primarily from his or her family is more likely to engage in violent acts.

            Esbensen and Melde (2009: 499-525) examined “the extent to which in-school victimization is associated with students’ perceived risk and fear of victimization.” It was found that the 1,450 youths between the ages of 10 and 16 who were assessed showed empirically distinct victimization and fear. They also suggest that school administrators can address the current situation by focusing educational material on the social determinates of victimization. Accordingly, this will likely “simultaneously reduce the fear among youth least likely to be victimized and instill a realistic level of fear among students most at-risk of future victimization.” The article can be a significant contribution to explaining any noticeably decline in the incidence of enrollees among schools. It suggests that fear of victimization may prevent both parents from enrolling their children in schools. Likewise, children may protest from being enrolled in a class-room setting education due to the said fear.

General Effect of Violence on Education

            Carroll (2006: 1-31) studies the possible effects of criminal and violent acts in North Carolina public middle schools on the academic performance levels of right graders. He found that there is indeed a significant decrease in academic achievement of eight graders when employing North Carolina eight-grade Math and Reading End-of-Grade test as a means of measurement. He found that the average marginal influence of one or more incident of crime or violence is a 0.138 decrease in Math scores and a 0.143 decrease in Verbal scores.

Policies on In-School Violence

            Politicians sought to address the problem of in-school violence by creating policies that is aimed at regulating the incidence of violence in educational institutions. For instance, Dunbar and McNeal (2010: 293-311) have mentioned the zero tolerance policy that was drafted as a result of the Gun Free Schools Act o 1994. The researchers examined the different views that exist towards the said policy, including its “substantive impact, to which it was intended, and its viability to address the problem of school violence.” The researchers noticed that the voices of the students, for whom the policy was made, were never heard during the debates on the said policy. They, therefore, conducted the research in order to bring to the surface the perceptions of urban students regarding the zero tolerance policy.  It was found that the zero tolerance policy does not have a substantive impact on the feeling of safety of urban high school students due to the “inconsistency in its enforcement by school staff.” This has further resulted to the decline in the confidence of students with regards to the school’s capacity in creating a safe learning environment.

            Birkland and Lawrence (2009: 1405-1425) directed their study’s focus on the how the media  affected public opinion, public policy, and scholarship commensurate with regards to the 1999 Columbine shooting incident that took place in Colorado. They found that media framing did impact scholarship. However, its effect on public opinion and public policy was limited. They observed that there has been an increase in the attention bestowed to school shootings and the said attention incited the quicker implementations of existing policies and tools that were readily available to schools.

Chapter 3

Research Design


            The research generally hypothesizes that violence has a negative effect on education. Specifically, it hypothesizes that violence causes a decline in the academic achievement of youths; that violence causes a decline of the frequency of attendance of youths who are enrolled in educational institutions; and that violence has caused a decrease in the number of enrollees on educational institutions.

General Methodology

            This research relied on literatures available on the subject as well as statistics from the World Health Organization to collect the data needed. It did not employ experimental method nor did a quantitative analysis. Instead, qualitative analysis was used in analyzing the data gathered.


            Data was gathered from different literatures in trying to nullify the hypotheses presented herein. Statistical data from established organizations were also gathered. In analyzing the data, secondhand data and quantitative analysis was employed.

Research Population/Sample

            The youth was chosen to be the primary sample for this study as they are the general population who are attending school. Also, violence is primarily observed among youths.

Data Collection Method

            Data was gathered from previous studies regarding violence that occurred in educational institutions. Also, statistical data was gathered from World Health Organization (WHO) in order to nullify the hypotheses.


            Based from the literatures presented above, this study concludes that there is a negative effect of violence on education particularly, on the education of the youth. It was observed that youths who are victimized by and who perpetuate violence usually suffer poor academic achievement such as what Carroll has learned in his study. It is also concluded that there is a decline in the frequency of attendance of students due to such factors as bullying and other violence-related incidents, especially among those who are directly victimized by violence. As such, it was also found that in-school violence has caused the number of enrollees to drop each year due to parents’ fear of having their children victimized.

            Violence has stripped the notion of school as a safe place for everyone. As the literatures have indicated, students have lost their confidence on the capacity of school staff to foster a general feeling of safety inside the campus. However, various solutions in trying to counter the problem of violence have been proposed researchers on this area. The most emphasized are: 1. tackling violence should be a collective effort of everyone in the community and not the school alone, 2. the family should play a bigger part in making sure that an individual is emotionally stable, and 3. policy-makers should consider the opinions of those whom they are making the policy for.

            Given these suggestions, existing policies should only be strengthened and properly implemented in order to mitigate the problem on violence. Also, policy-makers should pay attention to the fact that education is highly affected by the occurrence of violence and should look into the possibility that the education system may not also be effective in molding values among students such that they will not resort to violence in dealing with emotionally distressful situations.


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