Organizational And Leadership Theory Paper - Changing The Culture: Low-Level Violence In High School

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Organizational and Leadership Theory Paper - Changing the Culture: Low-level Violence in High School

Changing the Culture: Low-level Violence in High School


Adolescent violence is partly attributable to escalating sequences of events that culminate in outcomes unintended by the participants. Although the young people who engage in violence do not intend the outcome, they nevertheless suffer the consequences-either the harm that comes from being victimized or the punishment that comes from being the aggressor. This type of violence is extensive. An estimated 16 percent of all high school students in this country have been in one or more physical fights on school property in the course of a year. (Faqir 2001) Victimization rates for simple assault are highest among young people ages 12 to 19. (Ali 2007) The problem is increasing, because while some types of violent crime are declining, the risk of being a victim of this type of crime has risen since the mid-1980s among juveniles ages 12 to 17. The same is true with the more serious offense of aggravated assault; juvenile arrests for this offense are projected to rise. (Rao 1997)Aggravated assault and even homicide, which include young people as victims and offenders, often result from events similar to those triggering less serious offenses-transactions over seemingly trivial matters, occurring between people who know each other. This study of violent incidents among middle and high school students focused not only on the types and frequency of these incidents but also on their dynamics-the locations, the "opening moves," the relationship between disputants, the goals and justifications of the aggressor, the role of third parties, and other factors. (Rao 1997)

The violent incidents were analyzed to create general models of the sequence or pattern of events in the interactions among disputants. The analysis confirmed that the opening moves involved such actions as minor slights and teasing, and the incidents took place largely among young people who knew each other. What is perhaps most troubling is the finding that the students' violent behavior did not stem from lack of values. Rather, it was grounded in a well-developed set of values that holds such behavior to be a justifiable, commonsense way to achieve certain goals. (Ali 2007)

Information about the typical steps that culminate in violent incidents, the rationales for those incidents, the most common locations where the incidents take place,and how the disputants and others are related can be useful in designing effective prevention programs aimed at developing nonviolent responses. In fact, the analysis was conducted with the express purpose of generating information that can be used to take preventive action. Knowing where in the sequence of events leading to a violent incident a certain action takes place can aid in identifying points for intervention. (Jewkes 2002)

If such intervention occurs during the early, opening moves, it might be possible to prevent escalation to more serious violence. Changing the cultural norms or values that justify these violent incidents may be a more difficult task.

The students, their schools, and their neighborhoods

The middle school is in an economically ...
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