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School Shootings

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"That could never happen in my school." This is one of the first thoughts that goes through a students mind when they hear about a school shooting. The fact is though, it can. School shootings can happen at any school at any time. Lack of security is only a small part of the problem. The major issue lies in the low morality of students and warning signs overlooked by administration.

Not all, but a majority of the students are cold-blooded killers. And shooting fellow students is often not their first choice. In fact, most school shooters are victims themselves, and shooting fellow students was a last resort. They feel as if no one is listening and this is their only way of getting their voice heard. The shooter has more and likely made many attempts to solve this problem.

Bullying, often dismissed as a normal part of growing up, is a real problem in our nation's schools, according to the National School Safety Center. One out of every four schoolchildren endures taunting, teasing, pushing, and shoving daily from schoolyard bullies. More than 43 percent of middle- and high-school students avoid using school bathrooms for fear of being harassed or assaulted. Old-fashioned schoolyard hazing has escalated to instances of extortion, emotional terrorism, and kids toting guns to school. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of all incidents of school violence begin with verbal conflicts, which escalate to profanities and then to fists or worse.

It is not so much the nature of the harassment, whether verbal or physical, but the extent of the bullying that harms a student. Students who are constantly targeted are likely to become increasingly withdrawn from their peers and suffer risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. Some actually end up killing themselves or even taking it out on the bullies.

According to students, schools respond inadequately, if at all, to reported incidents of bullying. When Frank Barone, principal of Amsterdam High School in Amsterdam, New York, asked hundreds of eighth graders if they had ever been bullied, more than half (58.8 percent) responded in the affirmative. Yet when he asked their teachers how many students had been bullied, they put the figure at 16 percent. Clearly, adults don't recognize the extent of bullying that children face every day. This shows that administration can easily miss important warning signs that point to school violence.

All in all,



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