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News Analysis

School violence tragedy hits home at Chardon

March 22, 2012

By Mandy Duncan

The tragic events at Chardon echoed throughout the world, just as Columbine did and all the other incidents involving violence in schools.

It seems that parents have to wonder whether or not their child is safe at school, what will happen to them at school and what is to blame.

The blame for this violence has been placed on video games, television, movies, internet, bullying, poverty, parents and many other things.

Many of these things play a factor in what causes these incidents to occur but no one thing is the definite cause, because each individual person is different and none of the factors can be solely responsible. The world has changed since the days when a child younger than the shooter at Chardon would go out into the woods and help his or her father or mother hunt for food but there were violent children then just as there are now.

Jesse Pomeroy, who was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1859, was convicted of killing two other children and spent 56 years in prison. Violence is nothing new to young people.

The people that blame video games want the ratings on games higher so kids can’t purchase them. This is only a temporary fix and banning all violent video games could be considered extreme to many who play these games without any violent tendencies or outbursts.

Parents should be aware of what kind of things their children are doing and if they think that their child is mature enough to handle the video game, movie or television show and knows that violence isn’t the way to solve their problems.
The economy has placed parents in a situation where they have to work longer hours to make ends meet and sometimes parents just aren’t aware of what their children are doing.

Parents also have less time to sit down and talk to their children, but these tragic incidents remind people that time has to be spent talking to their children.
Organizations that want to clean up television, movies and the internet want to see less violence but it’s sad to say that is what makes money. It is not reality and it is just a movie or television show but some adults even have a hard time distinguishing reality from fantasy.

Schools also have faced blame from society by cutting staff in order to run efficiently so counselors may not readily be available to troubled students seeking guidance.
This has led schools to stepping up security. It is easier to walk into a college campus like CSU than it is to walk into an elementary school to pick up a son or daughter. It is all in the name of safety.

Since the Chardon shooting, there have been many different incidents both in counties west and east of Cleveland involving students at different area schools.
Schools however do have plans to deal with situations that come up involving violence some involving codes for different situations that are announced over the loudspeaker and practice drill are performed just like for tornadoes and fires.

“There are procedures set in place for incidents both for inside school and outside school buildings, everyone’s made aware,” said Gina Lamson, a CSU student teacher who teaches at Lincoln West High School in Cleveland.

Cleveland State like many other institutions is trying to prepare their future teachers to be able to deal with the circumstances if they should arise. Lamson says that her classes at CSU touched on things like school violence and tactics to reduce stress and anxiety.

“We were taught to act out the scenario as if the children in the situation were our own and that we have to keep in mind that we as teachers are responsible for our students,” said Lamson.

A documentary called “Bullied” was shown in February in the Atrium at Julka Hall here at Cleveland State. This documentary is about a gay student that was bullied by his peers who sued his school for failing to protect him.

He won his lawsuit and established the right of every student to equal protection under the law, despite race, gender or sexual orientation. This documentary is available free to any school via www.tolerance.org.

“I think that once the trials and verdicts come in on these students then incidents will die down. It seems like it goes in waves and we have to get through the low points to get back on the high points,” said Lamson.