The statistics are appalling. Between 8% and 10% of U.S. high school students carry guns to school every day. In a typical mid-size city, 30 to 50 cases of school violence are reported daily, and half of these cases involve guns.
School Violence: Assessment, Treatment, Prevention shows us the reality behind the statistics. Its distinguished contributors include leading clinicians, researchers, school counselors, and legal authorities who closely examine every aspect of this complex epidemic, challenging us to solve this multifaceted public health problem and offering concrete recommendations on how to do it.
The comprehensive volume is divided into four parts:
* Part I, Contributing Factors, presents the multiple contributing factors, including those involved in creating violent children and violence-prone schools, the nature and context of school violence, and its biological and cultural causes. For example, although the number of violent deaths by shooting in schools remained stable through the 1990s, the number of violent acts against female students increased significantly, as did gang activity and the availability of guns in schools.
* Part II, Assessment and Management, details diagnostic assessment, management, and treatment of children and adolescents who have the potential for or have threatened school violence. Eyewitnesses describe the shootings and their aftermaths in Pearl, Mississippi, and Littleton, Colorado, including the extensive measures taken to decrease the traumatic effect of these incidents on the children and adolescents and their families, the educators, and the community at large. Also presented is a model for time-limited, cognitive–behavioral group therapy for those who sustain or witness violent injuries in schools—a model that could be adapted to other settings.
* Part III, Legal Aspects, begins by putting us on notice that anyone aware of a potentially violent act by a youth has a legal responsibility to alert the intended victim(s) and others who could warn or protect them, offering a uniquely insightful view—by the plaintiff attorney for the victims of school violence in Paducah, Kentucky—of the Tarasoff case and its ramifications.
* Part IV, Prevention, concludes with what we can do now to help prevent school violence, detailing effective prevention measures that range from the innovative (a method that focuses on the school as a whole rather than on individuals and uses a social system and power–dynamics perspective) to the everyday (teaching tolerance and conflict resolution).
Psychiatric practitioners, clinical social workers, pediatricians, art and activity therapists, school counselors and administrators, and other educators and mental health care professionals—and concerned adults—who want to help prevent violence in our schools and minimize its traumatic effects on children, parents, and the community at large will appreciate this lucid, in-depth treatment of what has become one of today’s most disturbing issues.
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Preface. Part I: Contributing Factors. Making sense of school violence: why do kids kill? School violence and the school environment. Biological and social causes of school violence. Trends in school violence: are our schools safe? Part II: Assessment and Management. Diagnostic assessment, management, and treatment of children and adolescents with potential for school violence. Coping with school violence: an eyewitness account. Columbine High School shootings: community response. Wounded adolescence: school-based group psychotherapy for adolescents who sustained or witnessed violent injury. Part III: Legal Aspects. Duty to foresee, forewarn, and protect against violent behavior: a plaintiff attorney’s perspective. Duty to foresee, forewarn, and protect against violent behavior: a psychiatric perspective. Part IV: Prevention. Prevention of firearm fatalities and injuries: public health approach. Problems with and solutions for school violence: the Philadelphia experience. Strategies for the prevention of youth violence in Chicago public schools. A social systems–power dynamics approach to preventing school violence. The school in a multicultural society: teaching tolerance and conflict resolution. Index.
“Approaching a growing problem from different points of view, this book attempts to get every reader to take responsibility in the prevention of school violence. In its attempt to draw attention to this hot subject, this book makes a valuable contribution to the field. It is recommended to those who hope to raise healthy youth and who want to build a healthy future.”—Doody Publishing, August 2001
“It is hard to imagine a more important contemporary topic than school violence or a more timely publication than School Violence: Assessment, Management, Prevention. The editors, Mohammad Shafii and Sharon Lee Shafii, have pulled together a distinguished cadre of contributors, including psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, attorneys, and educators. . . The highlight of the book, however, is the presentation of the specific, intelligent prevention strategies. Too often, it seems to me, discussions of juvenile violence consist simply of recitations of all the problems, and time runs out before the presenter can say anything about the solutions. Not so with this book, in which the editors and authors describe attitudes and programs that are likely to reduce juvenile violence in schools and communities.”—JAMA, August 2001
About the Authors
Mohammad Shafii, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky.
Sharon L. Shafii, R.N., B.S.N., is Editor-in-Residence in Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. Shafii was formerly Assistant Head Nurse in the Adolescent Service at the Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.