HISD acts in preventing
We should be proud of our city and what
it has become in the past month. We are not only realizing that the best
way to promote safety is to promote prevention, but we are acting upon
this thought as well. This can be seen through the remarkable steps HISD
is taking to prevent school violence.
As Salatheia Bryant stated in Sunday's
Houston Chronicle, Houston Independent School District officials recently
initiated a new zero-tolerance campaign with the aim of
ending bullying, teasing, name-calling
and threats toward students. "The program is designed to change the attitude
of students through activities that teach tolerance," the
After incidents such as the April 1999
Columbine High School shootings, research has suggested that sometimes
students who are ridiculed and physically harassed by
other students are likely to engage in
acts of violence.
This is enough initiative to start a program
that prevents harassment, but I find it just as important to initiate this
program for the reason of saving the students who are
constantly tormented by their classmates
without having the courage to report it to school officials. The number
of students affected by this is far greater than the few who
actually react to the abuse.
As for the students who do react in a violent
way, it is important to realize what the root cause of the problem is.
Where do they get such ideas in the first place? It is just
as important to take an initiative to
stop violence, ignorance and hatred at home as it is to eliminate it in
For example, studies show that the more
violence children are exposed to on television, the more that violence
seems to become acceptable behavior. Unfortunately,
violence in some form is a common element
of many TV shows because of its strong emotional impact.
It is important to point out to children
that the violence they see in news, cartoons, movies and documentaries
is not an acceptable solution to solving problems. In
addition, by asking them to think whether
the participants in the shows could have found a better, nonviolent solution
to the problem, we would also be encouraging them
to develop their critical thinking.
Although television can be a wonderful
resource in bringing to children people and places they will otherwise
never see, and also enriching their vocabularies and
introducing complex ideas, it can also
present a type of morality that we may find unacceptable. It can be a model
of aggression and violence and take time away from
activities like reading and playing sports.
Only when children understand both the
benefits and limitations of television are they able to use it to their
advantage without fear or harm. This understanding is not
limited to television alone, but anything
that exposes children to violence.
Taking such universal precautions, we may
have a better chance to eliminate school violence once and for all.