Violence in public schools


Paper should be focused on the problems or issues, review, synthesize, and summarize the literature; provide a critical and reflective discussion; draw conclusions; and formulate recommendations. The manuscript must be written in current APA 6th edition, style format. This must include at least the following sections;
1. Title page
2. Abstract
3. Table of contents
4. Introduction
5. Literature sections
6. Discussion ( Summary, Conclusions, Implications, and recommendations).
7. References
8. Appendices (if applicable)


Violence in public schools

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            Violence in public schools takes many forms, with the most common one being violent behavior among primary, middle, and high school students. This problem needs to be addressed in a holistic manner before it metamorphoses into a disaster for the contemporary public education system. This paper sets out to identify the nature of the problem of violence, its causes and effects, and most importantly, ways of preventing it. Research findings show that environmental factors have a critical role to play in preventing this kind of violence. Children need to be subjected to lessons, policies, programs, and regulations that facilitate good character formation. In this regard, the critical roles parents and teachers as well as school-community partnerships should not be overlooked.


Abstract. 2

Introduction. 4

Literature Sections. 5

Research-based Approaches on School Violence. 5

Role of Partnerships between Communities and Institutions to Prevent School Violence. 7

Research Findings. 10

Discussion. 14

Conclusions. 19

Recommendations. 21

References. 23


            Violence in public schools is a major problem today. This phenomenon has triggered a heated debate in policy circles on how to turn things around and improve the level of discipline across all public schools. In the field of criminal justice, scholars are interested in finding out more about violence in public schools in terms of their causes, prevention, and control mechanisms. The role of the environment in which children grow and live is also being studied with a view to determining why the problem continues to escalate and how best to resolve it. In many primary, middle, and high schools, serious violence-related offenses arise from seemingly trivial disputes. This means that resolving these disputes before they escalate into acts of violence is an ideal way of addressing the problem.


            The case of violence in public schools warrants special attention particularly in light of the popular notion that the American public education system is in a crisis. There are growing concerns regarding the kind of environment children in public schools are exposed to, which is assumed to be a major contributor of violence. In this case, the main problems with this environment are presumed to be related to discipline and lack of appropriate prevention mechanisms. Since schools cannot eliminate the problem of violence alone, communities are also called upon to play a role in creating a nurturing environment that fosters learning. For example, children’s perception of violence may vary depending on whether they live in a neighborhood with violent crime (Everett & Price, 1995). At the same time, the role of state and federal agencies cannot ignored. For instance, Congress has mandated various agencies and institutions to collect data, report on trends, and implement measures aimed at curbing violence in public schools.

Just like in policy-making circles, academic literature on this issue reflects this multidimensional view of violence in public schools, particularly among adolescents. The aim of this paper is to make a contribution to this literature. It examines discourse on the approaches being used to study public-school violence and the measures being put in place to address those problems. It also explores research trends, findings, and gaps in this discourse. On this basis, a reflective discussion is presented with a view to identify implications for the public education system and recommendations on how to identify, prevent, and control violence in public schools.

Literature Sections

Research-based Approaches on School Violence

School violence is a major problem particularly in public schools. It ranges from the use of weapons such as guns to general youth misconduct exemplified by antisocial behavior and aggression. School-age children may in some cases become victims or perpetrators of bullying, fighting, verbal aggression, and uncontrolled rage. Some of the most common attenuating factors for violence among youths in schools include drug dealing, popular media influences, a rebellious attitude, and “thug” mentality. These factors influence the students to engage in vandalism, stealing, sexual assault, physical assault, and the use of knives during confrontations.

            To understand the causes of antisocial behavior in schools and ways of preventing it, researchers have tended to ground their work in psychology, sociology, public health, and criminal justice (Howard, Flora & Griffin, 1999; Neiman & Hill, 2010; Catalano, Loeber & McKinney, 1999; Everett & Price, 1995). Insights from these disciplines have played a critical role in enabling researchers to come up with various ways of preventing this behavior. Without understanding how antisocial behavior evolves, it is difficult to develop preventative measures, policies, and plans of action. Anchoring all investigations on available evidence enables researchers to establish a plan of action that is based on empirically supported theory.

            In most cases, acts of violence by youthful perpetrators in schools are preceded by apparent prior maladjustment, which may sometimes go unnoticed. It is rare to find school-going youths initiating massive school violence without any history of antisocial behavior. School authorities sometimes fail to remain alert for long enough to identify some of the developmental precursors of egregious behavior (Lockwood, 2012). This failure may be attributed to lack of awareness of research findings that investigate these developmental precursors. In other cases, it may just happen that researchers have not yet identified developmental behaviors that may be warning signs of future violent behavior. Available research evidence shows that most youthful perpetrators tend to experience loneliness prior to engaging in violence (Leary et al., 2003). Others engage in minor misconduct before “stepping up” their efforts and engaging in more serious acts of violence. Other significant factors for violence among school children include peer rejection, non-stimulating educational environments, poor parenting, and being witnesses of violence.

            It is unfortunate that the role of theory in identifying indicators of violence among adolescent learners has not been fully acknowledged. Many implementers of preventative programs and behavioral scientists operate without any reference to a theoretical framework. In other words, the interventions and programs that they apply to problems tend to be derived from illogical approaches that lack any theoretical justification. Expectedly, this approach easily leads to the failure of the program or intervention. Moreover, the absence of a theoretical framework makes it virtually impossible for researchers to proceed to the next stage of the inquiry. They end up going back and forth in a desperate attempt to come up with a program that works before ultimately getting frustrated.

            Theory plays two roles in preventing violence. First, it enables researchers to define operating assumptions about the relationship between the development of antisocial behavior and youth violence. A series of studies that build on existing findings can help to establish behavioral trends that are indicative of a tendency towards violence. Some theories identify poor parenting as the main cause of school violence while others attribute the behavior to larger systems, including schools and neighborhoods (Lockwood, 2012). Others provide a composite picture based on an analysis of different domains within the school-going child’s environmental and developmental matrix (Neiman & Hill, 2010). Secondly, theory enables researchers to identify various principles underlying every proposed intervention, program, or policy. Since all researchers operate within tight bounds of time, they must focus on a specific area that they intend to target. When such a process is theory-driven, researchers are able to highlight the specific dimensions where the impact of the intervention or program is expected to be felt in terms of violence prevention.

Role of Partnerships between Communities and Institutions to Prevent School Violence

Community is an integral part of human life because it provides an institutionalized system through which values are instilled into individuals and groups. People who have been excommunicated from their communities are normally viewed as outcasts. The fear of being branded an outcast drives many young people to do the right thing by, for example, avoiding violence. Discourse on community partnerships to prevent school violence derives from aspects of prevention science, which have gained currency in recent decades. This discourse has led to the emergence of numerous prevention programs that have been empirically tested to determine their impact on specific populations in predefined social contexts.


A case in point is violence among adolescents in public schools. For prevention to occur, specific aspects of the environments under analysis must be addressed in terms of how they hinder or help the development of groups and individuals. The presupposition in this case is that different groups tend to have varied capacity for adaptation. For example, prevention programs whose aim is to prevent behavioral maladjustment tend to be promoted in schools. In most cases, these programs involve peers and families in the context of community as well as other environments such as intimate relationships and the workplace context. 

It is possible for policy changes to be addressed in evidence-based prevention programs that address violence in public schools. The policy changes in question are those that address various community issues as well as organizational structures that are directly related to the risk of violence. For example, minimum age requirements for the obtainment of a driver’s license or social practices such as alcohol consumption have been proven to reduce the risk of behavior that may lead to violence in schools. Similarly, media outlets that discourage school children from engaging in violence greatly contribute to the reduction in the occurrence of this vice.

            Development trajectories of students in public schools tends to be impacted by radical changes in school’s curricular, family practices and peer group values. For these prevention programs to succeed, attention to existing power structures and values of the local community is paramount. All policy changes that schools recommend should be alive to the fact that different communities that exist within the same society may exercise different value systems.

According to Catalano, Loeber, and McKinney (1999), certain family practices constitute a risk factor for children who engage in serious violent juvenile (SVJ) crime. Moreover, children living in communities where these family practices are common are also at a greater risk of engaging in SVJ crime. Faced with this challenge, policymakers and other stakeholders may choose to implement various community, school, and family interventions in order to prevent children from engaging in SVJ crime. These interventions should be designed in such a way that they reduce the occurrence of this behavior in future.

Some specific intervention programs that may effectively address school violence include behavioral consultation, structured playground activities, behavioral reinforcement, and school-wide reorganization (Catalano, Loeber & McKinney (1999). Catalano, Loeber, and McKinney (1999) observe that that programs that monitor student behavior in public schools are likely to decrease delinquency and increase academic achievement. In terms of community interventions, the most common approaches include citizen mobilization, comprehensive citizen intervention, situational prevention, after-school recreation programs, and mentoring. Other useful evidence-based violence-prevention strategies include policy changes, mass media interventions, and policing strategies.

Prevention research on school violence often emphasizes the importance of the field trial (Howard, Flora & Griffin, 1999). The success of the field trial depends on the structure and quality of the relationship between the researcher and the community (Howard, Flora & Griffin, 1999). The permissibility of control conditions and randomly assigned trial groups may keep evolving in line with the changing nature of this relationship (Howard, Flora & Griffin, 1999). Moreover, this relationship may need to be looked into even after the completion of the research. This is mainly because of the need to navigate the important question of how the programs being implemented on the basis of those findings will affect the interests of the community. For example, some prevention programs may involve impeding or aiding access to classroom and schools to certain students as part of the implementation process.

Research Findings

Research on the prevention of violence in public Schools has for a long time continued to produce insightful findings. Whereas some of them trigger disputes and criticism, others attract consensus within the scholarly community. Some professionals in the education sector have even advocated for the adoption of interventions arising from empirical research (Leary et al., 2003). Some of the main themes in this discourse include the role of discipline in preventing school crime, the need for early-childhood interventions, and differences between public-school and private-school environments in terms of incidences of crime.


In this discourse, an important finding worth emphasizing addresses variations in school crime, which have been found to be dependent on a number of factors, including community characteristics, and school characteristics (Hellman & Beaton, 1986). This finding was derived from an analysis of suspension rates in all Boston school districts. Moreover, this study showed differences in school crime rates between high schools and middle schools. In middle schools, crime was attributed to the school environment and not the community. Moreover, schools with a higher student-to-teacher ratio experienced more violence-related problems (Hellman & Beaton, 1986). In high schools, higher student instability and low academic quality were associated with more instances of school crime and violence (Hellman & Beaton, 1986). At the same time, community was found to exert a strong influence on school violence.  

The dynamics of school violence that are reported in research vary depending on whether focus is on primary, middle, or high school settings. In many instances, variations take the form of severity of cases and frequency of incidents. It has become the norm for researchers to provide a comparison between different aspects of violence that occur in these settings. The most frequently examined incidents include physical attacks, thefts, and bullying. According to Neiman & Hill (2010),the number of violent incidents for every 1000 students was lower in primary schools and high schools than in middle schools. Another finding derived from the study was that in middle schools, the rate of occurrence of bullying was higher than in primary and high schools (Neiman & Hill, 2010). The three factors that occurred the highest number of times in an investigation into factors limiting efforts by schools to prevent crime included inadequate placements for disruptive students, inadequate funds, and policies on promoting discipline among special education students (Neiman & Hill, 2010).

According to Daniel (1997), adolescent violence in public schools is to a large extent attributable to a sequence of events that culminate in undesirable outcomes for participants. Many children who engage in violent activities do not intend to get the outcome that they end up getting. However, they suffer the consequences of their actions by being punished for their aggression or by getting harmed through victimization. In some cases, retributive punishment that is meted out against the offending students only serves to increase their level of defiance.

Physical fights have become rampant among students in the United States. It is estimated that 16 percent of American high school students get involved in physical fights once or severally within school property in a year (Daniel, 1997).  The rate of victimization for simple assault is highest among adolescents aged between 12 and 19.2. Daniel (1997) further observes that the risk of falling victim to violent crime has been rising since the mid-1980s. Based on this observation, one may expect to see an increase in the number of juvenile arrests.

The events that trigger serious offences such as aggravated assault and homicide tend to be similar to those that trigger less serious offenses. In most cases, they arise from transactions over trivial matters, in many cases between friends and acquaintances. In studies addressing these issues, it is important to focus on not just the types and frequency of events that lead to serious offences but also on the dynamics of these offenses in terms of locations, the manner in which the violence escalates, justifications and goals of the aggressor, the relationship between the individuals involved in the dispute, and the role played by third parties in resolving or exacerbating the dispute (Daniel, 1997). In Daniel’s (1997) study, the most troubling observation was that the violent behavior that students in public schools displayed did not arise from lack of social values. On the contrary, it was anchored on a set of values based on which the behavior was held to be a justifiable way of achieving certain goals (Daniel, 1997.

            Diverse options have been explored in literature in relation to the analysis of prevention strategies. One strategy emphasizes the role of supervising adults, who include teachers, parents, and mentors. According to Lockwood (2012), these adults can play a critical role in preventing violence in public schools. The role of peers has also been identified, mainly because some of the violent incidents involving adolescents tend to be very brief and covert. Similarly, the role of parents and school staff has been given special attention because most incidents of violence occur at home or at school. Lockwood (2012) points out that in school, the social interactionist approach can be used to develop practices, policies, and programs that prevent the escalation of the so-called “opening moves”. This approach should be founded on an in-depth understanding of the kinds of transactions that precede violent confrontations.

            Lockwood (2012) argues that preventing the occurrence of opening moves offers an even better prospect in reducing the likelihood of violence. In this regard, it is important for social skill curriculums to be entrenched in all public schools. These curriculums should address the values that drive primary, middle, and high school students into viewing violent response as the best way of resolving a dispute. In most cases, students instinctively adopt the styles of their teachers, parents, and other adults near them. Essentially, this means that a change of norms, in the society, difficult as it is, must occur for students to reorient value system that they rely on to justify violence (Lockwood, 2012). However, this argument contradicts Daniel’s (1997) view that students rely on their own set of values to engage in and promote violent behavior as a justifiable means of achieving certain ends whether or not they have been exposed to appropriate social norms at home and in school.

            According to Shafii and Shafii (2008), school-community activities can greatly contribute to the entrenchment of social norms that discourage students from resorting to violence as a means of resolving conflicts. These activities can be beneficial particularly in neighborhoods experiencing numerous incidences of violence. This approach may entail establishing community alliances and councils consisting of schools, students, law enforcement agencies, organizations, residents, and local religious groups. These collaborations offer a solid platform for parents to coordinate a wide range of activities aimed at preventing violence. Shafii and Shafii (2008) opine that in these partnerships, a mission-driven philosophy should be adopted to ensure that diverse elements in society are encouraged to pursue the common mission of violence prevention and to place it above personal driving forces. Theoretical support for school-community partnerships derives from the observation that the entrenchment of social fabric in a community is often accompanied by a reduction in cases of violence among students in public schools (Shafii & Shafii, 2008).


            Research findings on violence in public schools shows that a lot of time should be spend on understanding the extent of this problem. Once the problem is understood, it is possible to deal with it. More importantly, it is possible to prevent it from happening in future. In some cases, attention has been on violence as an integral part of school crime in public schools. In other cases, it is viewed as the ultimate outcome of the escalation of trivial disputes. These differences of opinion seem to differ depending on whether one is talking about violence in primary schools, middle schools, or high schools. For this reason, the age factor cannot be ignored, given that more cases of trivial disputes may seem to arise in primary-school contexts compared to high-school contexts.

            In public primary schools, children may mete out violence for trivial reasons, including disagreements, race, disability status, and gender. Thus, preventive measures at this level must involve a third party, in most cases a teacher or parent. The incidences of violence at this level may not be serious to the extent of being subjected to the intervention of law enforcement authorities. In most cases, primary school students resort to violence because of sheer indiscipline and lack of understanding of conflict resolution mechanisms. However, tendency to engage in violence may be higher-than-average for maladjusted and deviant students. It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to identify those children and to give them special attention in order to avoid a situation where those children exert negative influence in their respective classrooms, leading to an overall increase in the level of school violence.

            To promote safety in public schools especially at the primary-school level, it is imperative to discuss existing policies and procedures for dealing with violence and ways of improving them. It is unfortunate that some of the policies that are in place today are not effective for the identification and assessment of deviant, maladjusted, and troubled children. At the same time, parents and community members are not being fully involved. Similarly, some teachers have reneged on their responsibility of integrating violence awareness lessons into the academic curriculum as well as disseminating informational materials that outline the dangers of violence.

            At the primary level of schooling, all children go through the fastidious process of character formation (Heaviside et al., 1998). This undoubtedly means that preventing school violence during the early years of schooling is an excellent way of preventing its recurring during middle school and high school years. During character formation lessons, teachers should endeavor to inculcate the values of responsibility, respect, and tolerance (Heaviside et al., 1998). The fact that physical fights have become rampant among adolescent students in the United States is an indication that teachers, parents, and members of community are not doing enough to contribute proactively to character formation among primary school students.

            Other recommended interventions range from teachings by specialists in bullying prevention to the promotion of bullying prevention and peer mediation by students. In some states within the United States, this problem has even attracted the attention of school board employees and school districts. In the latter case, the outcome has been the integration of district rules, policies, and procedures for dealing with violence-related cases. As a preventive countermeasure, some school district boards should consider holding discussions with school administrators on the best methods of keeping schools safe from all forms of violence.

In middle and high schools, the violence problem is more deep-seated than in primary school. Moral issues notwithstanding, middle and high school students are typically adolescents who have already gotten used to all the talk about morals, values, discipline, and uprightness of character. They tend to think that it is fashionable to exhibit resistance to authority. For this reason, students with proper upbringing are suddenly confronted with challenge of either pledging their allegiance to the new system of values governing adolescent behavior or face rejection from peers.

Nevertheless, for adolescent middle and high school students, violence against other students and school administrators may be a sign of underlying problems in the school and home environment. Since these students are mature enough to understand the school’s anti-violence policy, it may be worthwhile for school authorities to find out the reasons given for the violence. For example, students who are not satisfied with their choice of school may become bored and irritable, hence the increased likelihood that they will sooner or later pick up fights with other students for trivial reasons.

Moreover, larger schools have been found to face greater problems of violence than smaller schools (Shafii & Shafii, 2008; (Hellman & Beaton, 1986). This observation applies to middle and high schools and not in primary schools. Again, this may be attributed to the advanced level of knowledge and understanding among adolescent students. As students become more knowledgeable, they devise new ways of beating the system to the point where they confidently execute acts of violence without getting noticed by teachers and other school administrators. The larger the schools, the greater the difficulties that teachers may face in identifying and dealing with violent students.

Diverse options have been explored in literature in relation to the analysis of prevention strategies, which in most cases focus on violence among adolescent students. One strategy emphasizes the role of supervising adults, who include teachers, parents, and mentors (Welsh, Greene, Jenkins, 1999). The role of teachers deserves to be given special attention because students spend most of their time at school. In recent years, poor violence-reporting standards at the state level has put teachers on the spotlight in relation to their understanding of this problem. Accuracy in reporting cases of violence is of utmost importance because it influences the preventive measures that school administrators and parents put in place. For example, failure by teachers to report some of the incidences of violence may create a false impression regarding the depth of the problem, thereby leading to complacency on the part of school administration, parents, and law enforcement agencies. Parents can use this information to make decisions on whether to enroll their children in those schools.

An assessment of school violence outcomes can help stakeholders to determine the effectiveness of various violence-prevention measures. Many schools erroneously measure changes in violence based on processes such as school transfers, expulsions, and detentions. Such an approach fails to capture the real picture of the problem, given that many cases of violence among students go unreported for various reasons, including leniency on the part of teachers and complicity on the part of students. The best approach would be one where violence statistics are part of the report cards of both students and schools. This data should captured in just the same manner as data on teacher experience and academic performance.

            Other than the school context, community characteristics also influence the occurrence of violence. Students who live in neighborhoods where the rate of crime is high are more likely to engage in violence at school than those who come from neighborhoods with lower crime rates. This demonstrates that there is a strong environmental influence on the prevalence of violence in public schools. It also brings into perspective the important role of the home environment. One may expect a student who is subjected to violence or who witnesses acts of violence being meted out to a spouse to be more inclined towards acting violently against other students once he or she goes to school. Thus, it would be wrong to overlook the role of environmental factors and their influence on school violence.

            Moreover, avoiding escalation of disputes among students has also been identified as an excellent way of preventing school violence. Daniel’s (1997) points out that the events that trigger serious offences such as aggravated assault and homicide tend to be similar to those that trigger less serious offenses. In most cases, they arise from transactions over trivial matters, in many cases between friends and acquaintances. Some people may doubt the public schools’ level of preparedness in preventing trivial disputes and opening moves from escalating into serious brawls and deadly acts of violence. To address this concern, focus should be on an analysis of how the issue has been addressed by individual administrators in public schools as well as school districts and federal enforcement agencies.

            Based on this discussion, one may deduce that efforts to prevent violence in public schools have focused on two levels of intervention: long-term and short-term. In long-term strategies, focus is on creating a school and home environment where upright moral values can be nurtured. In short-term intervention, researchers highlight ways of preventing disputes among students from escalating into violence. They also outline the measures that teachers can take to make violence look like an inappropriate way of solving problems among students. Another short-term preventive measure entails measuring violence levels among student and recording in various performance indices such as report cards. One may doubt the efficacy of responding reactively through the measurement of violence outcomes instead of preventing the violence from occurring in the first place. However, proponents of this approach may argue that it discourages would-be offenders to engage in the vice. The rationale for this argument is that a student is likely to hold back from committing a violent offence if he knows that his actions are going to be recorded and communicated to his parents and school administrators, potentially leading to suspension or expulsion from school.

            Lastly, the issue of school-community activities that are founded on evidence-based research can greatly help to address the problem of violence among students in public schools (Shafii and Shafii, 2008). Some of the intervention programs of this nature that can be of utmost relevance include behavioral consultation, structured playground activities, behavioral reinforcement, and school-wide reorganization (Catalano, Loeber & McKinney (1999). As long as appropriate policies, regulations, and programs are put in place at both state and federal levels, it is possible for these programs to turn around the grim picture of violence in public schools by transforming public schools into safe institutions of learning.


            This paper has explored the problem of violence among students in public schools. Although this discussion is by no means exhaustive, it has hopefully provided insights into the diversity of views among researchers on how best to deal with this problem. There is consensus among the researchers regarding the need to define this problem in terms of its magnitude, manifestation, causes, and effects on students, public schools, and entire communities. Whenever a school is ranked highly in terms of violence, it means that parents whose children attend that school have a genuine reason to get worried about the safety of those children. Moreover, violent behavior is a sign of lack of discipline on the part of the offending student.

            The findings of this paper have emphasized the role of teachers and parents in preventing violence. Specifically, the term “school-community partnerships” has been used. Teachers are expected to lead the path towards positive change and character formation particularly among public school children, who need to be weaned through the process embracing moral behavior. This paper’s findings also put teachers on the spotlight because of their role in perpetuating poor violence-reporting standards particularly at the state level. Violence reporting is a valuable undertaking because it assists policymakers to determine the public schools that warrant immediate attention based on violence-prevalence rates.

            Other issues that have been highlighted include the role of peers in resolving disputes that potentially lead to violence, the importance of school-community partnerships in alleviating violence and the effect of high populations in public schools on violence. Schools with high populations are associated with higher rates of violence compared to low-population schools, which in most cases happen to be private schools. Lastly, an important finding worth emphasizing is that some researchers have observed the presence of a value system among adolescent students that heavily influences them to resort to violence as a conflict resolution mechanisms. This peer-group value system is to blame for most of the violent behavior that is being experienced in public schools, especially middle and high schools.


This paper makes the following recommendations for the prevention of violence in public schools:

  1. Character formation lessons should be introduced as an integral component of early childhood development in public schools to help prevent maladjustment and deviance that is exemplified by violence during later years in school.
  2. Students who do not engage in violence should be encouraged to participate peer-related activities aimed at preventing violence and resolving conflicting involving their mutual friends.
  3. As a preventive countermeasure, school district boards should consider holding discussions with school administrators with a view to come up with the best methods of keeping schools safe from all forms of violence.
  4. Violence should be measured based on outcomes and not processes such as expulsion, school transfers, and detentions. Similarly, violence statistics should be included in report cards of both students and schools just like data on teacher experience and academic performance.
  5. Stakeholders in the public education system should emphasize on avoiding escalation, for example through the prevention of opening moves among students.
  6. School-community activities that address violence should be introduced, with the choice of specific programs being guided by evidence-based research and empirical evidence.
  7. Student populations in public schools should be reduced to manageable levels, while teacher-to-student ratio should be increased in efforts to create an environment where it is easier to monitor student behavior closely in order to identify and deal with perpetrators of violence.
  8. Teachers and parents must work together to dismantle the peer-group value system that adolescents normally establish as a basis for justifying violence as the best approach to dispute resolution.


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