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Psy 1012 - Babies Killing Babies

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PSY 1012

Mrs. Paskins

National Institute of Mental Health: Thinking About Violence in Our Schools

Office of The Surgeon General: Youth Violence

Tamara Santiago

October 24, 2001

Two teenagers entered a high school in Colorado and opened fire on their classmates. The young gunmen end their lives, but not before taking the lives of fifteen students, and injuring twenty, finalizing the tragedy. In recent years we have experienced a rampage of violence in our schools. Researchers have yet to pinpoint the answer to this plague of violent disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health, and The Office of the Surgeon General have focused their research to the areas of stages of violence development, prevention and intervention, and methods of identifying the most effective treatments.

Studies by the Office of the Surgeon General have concluded that there are two paths for the materialization of youth violence. One is identified at an early age of puberty, the other in the adolescent stage. The research shows that if there is violence demonstrated in the early childhood stage of a child, the degree of violence in the child rises, as the child grows older, concluding in severe violent behavior. The group that is said to be in the early-onset group, or before puberty, is said to have a greater and more serious number of violence incidents during the adolescent years. This also leads to a determining factor for violent behavior during their adulthood, (see research by Stattin and Magnusson, 1996; and Tolan and Gorman-Smith, 1998). Research has shown that violence offenses committed by young men, between the ages of sixteen or seventeen, can be traced back to their puberty stage (D'Unger et al., 1998; Elliot et al., 1996; Huzinga et al., 1995; Nagin and Tremblay, 1999; Patterson and Yoerger, 1997; Stattin and Magnusson, 1996). This is proof that the majority of offenders began their violent behavior during the younger years. However, the study also shows that those who began in the puberty stage did not commit the most serious and persistent acts of violence; moreover, by those who's violent behavior began during adolescence. The study also concludes that there is very little support to the claims that youth violence can be easily identified at an early age. We can see an example of this in the violent shootings that took place in Jonesboro, Arkansas; where two boys, ages eleven and thirteen years old, opened fire during a false fire alarm, killing four girls and one teacher. On the other hand, most offenders have showed only minimum levels of childhood violence. It is obvious that there are different levels in which researchers have to evaluate violence in children. Further research programs are needed to target, puberty and adolescent, stages of childhood violence.

Since 1997, we have experience such an explosion of school violence that parents, teachers, and community leaders are wondering whether or no is safe to send our children to school. The following are accounts of school violence as reported by ABC News:

* In February 1996, in Moses Lake, Washington, a fourteen year old boy wearing a trench coat opens fire in classroom with a hunting rifle. He kills the teacher, two students, and injures one other.

* In February 1997, in Bethel, Alaska, a sixteen year old opens fire with a shotgun. He kills the principal and another student. Two others students are injured. The young man was sentenced to two ninety-nine year terms.

* In October 1997, in Pearl, Mississippi, another sixteen year-old shoots nine students, two of them die including the shooter's ex-girlfriend. The shooter's mother is also found shot in her home. The youth is sentence to life in prison, and other students could be found guilty of accessory.

* In December 1997, in West Paducah, Kentucky, a fourteen-year-old is found guilty of shooting students in Heath High School. Three die and five others are wounded. The young offender is sentenced to life in prison.

* In March 1998, in Jonesborough, Arkansas, four students and one teacher are shot to death by and eleven and a thirteen year old boys. Ten others are injured during a false fire alarm. They were staged in the woods near the evacuation area. They can be held in juvenile court until the age of twenty-one.

* In April 1998, in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, a fourteen-year-old student shoots a teacher to death during a graduation dance.

* In April 1998, in Pomona, California, a fourteen-year-old boy shoots and kills two other teenagers on an elementary school basketball court.

* In May 1998, in Fayetteville, Tennessee, an eighteen year-old honor roll student kills another teenager just days away from graduation. The teenager killed was dating the shooter's ex-girlfriend.

* In May 1998, in Houston, Texas, a fifteen year-old is shot and wounded after a gun misfires while it was inside the backpack of another seventeen year-old student. The student is charged with a third degree felony.

* In May 1998, in Onalaska, Washington, a fifteen year-old boy boards a bus with a gun and orders his girlfriend to get off the bus and took her to her home. He then dies from a self-inflicted headshot.

* In May 1998, in St. Charles, Montana, police intervene when information was found on three six-graders that had a "hit list" and plans to kill students on the last day of school during a false fire alarm.

* In May 1998, in Springfield, Oregon, a fifteen-year-old student opens fire in the school cafeteria and kills two students. The shooter's parents are also found dead in their home. All this happened the day after the shooter was expelled for bringing a gun to school.

* In June 1998, in Richmond, Virginia, a teacher and a guidance counselor are shot and wounded in the hallway.

* On April 1999, in Littleton, Colorado, the most serious of school shootings, two young men wearing black trench coats fire, killing fifteen students, including themselves, and injuring twenty.

* On November 1999, in Deming, New Mexico, a twelve-year-old



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