We send our children to school in the hopes that having the proper education will help them to achieve their dreams for the future. Of course, parents will always worry about their children’s safety and their welfare, wherever they go. While schools provide valuable social and recreational opportunities in addition to academics, concerns over grades, whether a student will cut classes or get involved in the wrong crowd, and protecting children from class bullies is part of the package. Since the Columbine school shootings in 1999, parents today are justifiably concerned about school violence, and the potential for harm their child may face each day. While mass shootings are not common, everyday incidents of violence on school campuses occur regularly. Injuries due to school violence cause both physical injuries and psychological damage, and prevent young people from getting the education they deserve. Here is what you need to know about the problem and about schools policies intended to keep your child safe.
Statistics on School Violence
Incidents of school violence can occur before, during, or after school. It may happen during classes or hallways, at breaks, on the bus going to and from school, or at after-school functions, such as sporting events and dances. Studies by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report some shocking facts about school violence:
- One out of every five students report being bullied while on school property;
- One out of every 10 students report being in a physical altercation at school over the past 12 months;
- Close to 10 percent of all students report missing a day or more of school in the previous month due to feeling unsafe; and
- Seven percent of students report being threatened with a weapon on school property.
It is important to remember that these statistics represent reported incidents. Unfortunately, many students are threatened or intimidated by other students to prevent them from speaking up about the violence they experience at school. Ashamed and afraid, these students often feel they have nowhere to turn.
What School Districts Are Doing About School Violence
The Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools works to promote a safe learning environment by working to address issues related to violence in the Florida public school system. Schools collect data on violent, potentially criminal activity occurring on school grounds or at school related events through the School Environment Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR) System. This system helps administrators define and deal with violent behavior, and taking the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of both students and staff often means involving local police departments. Incidents of school violence requiring law enforcement to be notified include:
- Assault and battery;
- Burglary and robbery;
- Disrupting campus activities;
- Sexual assault or battery;
- Making threats and intimidation; and
- Possessing weapons on school grounds.
It is imperative that school administrators not downplay episodes of violence, and take the appropriate measure to protect student against injuries, both physical and mental, that result from school violence.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
If your child suffers has been hurt or injured as the result of school violence, contact our experienced Florida personal injury and accident attorneys. At Hogan Frick, our attorneys can help you hold responsible parties accountable for the damages your child has suffered. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we are happy to assist you.