Dealing with School Violence and Bullies
While our children may not always look forward to going to school to each day, the ability to get a solid education is both a right and a privilege in this country. Early education lays a foundation on which young people can build their knowledge and pursue their dreams, and their academic achievements should only be limited by the amount of hard work and determination they put into their studies. The classroom should be a safe place for children to learn, explore, and ask questions, but unfortunately that is not always the case. The threat of harm and the potential for injuries due to school bullying and violence cause many children today to dread going to school. As parents, understanding the problem and impacts created by school violence is the first step in addressing a situation that has become all too common.
Facts About School Bullying and Violence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines school violence as threatening behavior that occurs on or around school grounds. School-related violence can happen either before, during, or after school, on the school bus, at school-related functions, and even in the student’s own neighborhood. Bullying behaviors such as name calling, mockery, and verbal threats can quickly escalate into violent altercations causing serious injuries. Surveys conducted by the CDC reveal some alarming facts about school violence and bullying:
- One in three students report being the victim of bullying behavior;
- Close to 35 percent of students report having been involved in a physical altercation while on school property;
- Over 700,000 students each year are treated in hospital emergency rooms as the result of school fights and violence;
- 18 percent of students report a gang presence at their school; and
- Eight percent of students report being threatened with a weapon while at school, while 16 percent felt the need to carry a weapon to protect themselves.
The Effects of Bullying and School Violence
When school violence erupts, it can cause tremendous injuries for victims, as well as heartaches for their families and loved ones. Physical fights and altercations can result in serious injuries such as bruising, broken bones, strained muscles or tendons, and lacerations, and severe injuries such as head, brain and spinal cord injuries. Altercations involving weapons may result in acute trauma and even death. While there are obvious dangers resulting from physical violence, the social and psychological trauma of being threatened or bullied can be just as damaging. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has gotten involved in efforts to raise awareness and put an end to bullying through the website StopBullying, gov. According to the website, the harmful effects of bullying include:
- Depression and anxiety;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Eating disorders;
- Alcohol and substance abuse problems; and
- General health complaints, such as headaches and fatigue.
In severe cases, the child being bullied may feel the only way out is through suicide. It is important for parents to talk openly with their children about bullying and school violence, and to look for signs such as unexplained bruises, lost or ruined personal items and clothing, sudden loss of friends or avoiding social functions, and reluctance or refusal to go to school.
Reach Out to an Lawyer for Help
If you or someone you know has a child who was injured as the result of school violence or bullying, contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, we will fight for your child’s rights, while holding responsible parties accountable for their actions. We can help your family get the damages you need to recover. We serve the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties; call us at (772) 595-6654 for a free consultation.