Violence seems to be everywhere for today's young people. Campus brawls and elementary school bullies, which are forms of school violence, have become all too commonplace and affect focused instruction. Violence in our schools therefore affects the entire Virgin Islands community.
Violence prevention starts in the home and is often supported by school and community factors. Parents who teach their children and emphasize that violence is unacceptable are much less likely to raise children who will harm others. Parents can act as good role models by exhibiting appropriate behaviors to resolve problems. Strategies such as refraining from violence and handling problems through school and law-related goals should be promoted over the use of violent means. Become involved in your child's school life. Visit your child's school regularly, volunteer, and work with the PTA and other school based organizations. Parents can collaborate with other parents, government agencies, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, civic groups, and youth activity groups toward the development and implementation of strategies relative to eliminating youth violence.
Research says that parents who are constructively involved in their children's education will see improved attendance, achievement, and better behavior (Haynes, Comer, & Hamilton-Lee, 1989; Henderson, 1987; Rich, 1988). Parents must talk with children and listen to what goes on in their lives and the lives of their friends on a daily basis. Find out what problems or serious issues they may be facing; socially, academically, sexually or at school. You will be surprised by the factors that impact their school accomplishment. Make it absolutely clear that you will not tolerate violent actions of any kind. Getting your child to have a discussion about their thoughts and fears indicates your support and commitment to a non-violent approach.
Discuss diversity, abilities and disabilities. Discourage name-calling and teasing; these behaviors often escalate into fights. Make it clear to your child, that you support school policies and rules that facilitate a safe place for learning. Insist on knowing when your child has a problem. Routinely, ask about your child's friends, their parents, whereabouts, and activities. Children deserve a safe learning environment, teachers and staff are worthy of a safe place to work in, and the community expects safe schools that educate all children.
For the love of children, let us all benefit from safe schools and a safe community. As a stakeholder, do your part; get involved to help solve this problem.
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