Introduction to the Special Issue “School Violence and Safety”

Published date01 April 2018
Date01 April 2018
Subject MatterArticles
YVJ680404 119..123 Article
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice
2018, Vol. 16(2) 119-123
Introduction to the Special Issue ª The Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permission:
‘‘School Violence and Safety’’
DOI: 10.1177/1541204016680404
Anthony A. Peguero1, Nadine M. Connell2,
and Jun Sung Hong3,4
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stressed that school violence is a top public
health concern due to long-lasting detrimental effects on students’ physical health and emotional
well-being. Schools are agents of socialization that directly influence student development, educa-
tional progress, and life-course trajectories (Gottfredson, 2001; Muschert, Henry, Bracy, & Peguero,
2013; Rios, 2011; Shedd, 2015). After one’s own family, school is often the first place a child learns
society’s norms, values, and culture; students come to understand their roles and responsibilities in
society as well as in civic orientations and engagement (Muschert et al., 2013; Rios, 2011; Shedd,
2015). John Dewey (1916) first called attention to the link between education and democracy and
proposed that public schools could level the playing field between the advantaged and the less
advantaged as well as serve as an apprenticeship for civic life. Since Dewey’s (1916) seminal work,
and given the powerful socializing effect of schools, researchers have scrutinized the socialization
processes that occur in schools, recognizing the long-lasting and far-reaching impact schools may
have on society. Thus, violence and disorder within schools has received increased attention and
scrutiny over the years.
The Safe School Study Report to the Congress (1978) of the National Institute of Education (NIE),
was one of the first studies to focus on assessing the level of violence in U.S. schools. The landmark
study suggested that school violence is not predominantly committed by ‘‘outsiders’’ but rather the
students themselves. Thus, the study clearly denoted that school administrators and policy makers
can indeed implement policies to ameliorate violence in schools and between members of the school
community. The study suggested policies that can facilitate an administrator’s objective of reducing
violence at school. These include increasing efforts of student governance and rule through enforce-
ment, treating students fairly and equally, improving the relevance of subject matter to suit students’
interests and needs, and reducing class size. The study also presented results reflecting that unem-
ployment, poverty, and neighborhood conditions are not relevant factors contributing toward vio-
lence in school. Rather, school characteristics such as size of student enrollment, student–teacher
1 Department of Sociology, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
2 Criminology Program, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson,
3 School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
4 Department of Social Welfare, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Corresponding Author:
Anthony A. Peguero, Department of Sociology, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention,...

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