If we want to address this agonizing problem, perhaps we should pay some attention to what the children are telling us. We need "kinder, gentler" schools. We cannot continue to allow bullying and abuse as normal milestones of child development. We need to communicate the value of caring, and demonstrate that care. We need to provide alternatives to violence for problem-solving, to encourage more frequent, open, and genuine communication between students and the adults who care for them, at home, at school, in the community.
We also need to do more to break the vicious cycle of domestic abuse. As more and more problems are shown to emerge from this dysfunction, it behooves policymakers to face these facts and expend resources to prevent tragedies in the future. And very importantly, we need to send our children down other avenues to solve problems and feel empowered. We need to remove the easy path to killing for those who feel so overwhelmed. Of essential preventive importance here is a recommitting of this society and a redoubling of its efforts to keep guns out of the hands of children.
(1) Harris Interactive (Nasdaq: HPOL) is a worldwide market research, polling and consulting firm. It is best known for The Harris Poll and its pioneering use of the Internet to conduct scientifically accurate market research.
(2) Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a national school-based survey conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with federal, state and local partners.
(3) U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. (2001). Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Protection and Control; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services; and National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health.