Children must live as children; they must get affection and love and in the process, they must build their abilities and experience traumatic situations such as; be exposed to drugs and porn. We all want children to be the productive force of the nation, in spite our good thought on the well-being of children issues, there are still some places in the US where children do not live as one, especially in the inner part of Chicago city. Alex Kotlowitz in his book “There Are No Children Here” talks about the children who live in the mess violence of inner part of the Chicago city. The children experiences are awful; since these kids are suffering from different illnesses such as; uncontrollable violence, the lack of role model meaning interaction between school and parents in the children lives and the lack of resources to really fix all the school issues. The book predicts that if nothing is done there, it would not left children in the future. A gold medal school should overcome all those problems happening at school with the collaboration of the U.S department of Education, by first increasing the security at school to prevent children to hurt each other’s, secondly the same U.S department of Education should allocate appropriate funds to ameliorate and re-develop the school infrastructure, and by the end the involvement of the parents with the collaboration of the school and the non- profit organization to come up with programs to propose role model to the children. In order to be a Gold Medal School, Henry Sunder must get rid of its violence, beg the parents to be present in their children lives, and allocated funds to fix the school issues such as; infrastructures and hire skilled teachers.
Uncontrollable violence such as bullying and threatening climate is the issues in Sunder school that disturb the children’s lives. More than any other academic problems, bullying affects students’ sense of security. Contrary to the popular belief, bullying is not occurring only at school, it can also happen outside the school. Bullying is common and the most under reported student safety problem in American schools, especially the public ones. In his book There Are No Children Here’ Kotlowitz indicates that children expect to witness and experience traumatic situations even before they join the school. He states that “James, Lafayette’s friend says, “Cause I was real short and I know a lot of tall people be there so I thought they’ll probably try to beat me up, take my jacket and stuff, and make me pay peon fees,.”(Kotlowitz 85) The children seem to be aware of the threatening situations and perhaps they are even mentally unprepared to challenge that violent reality. Related to Kotlowitz quote, other authors like Eliza and Valerie state that not only the bullies are terrorizing the school environment but also create other bullies (Eliza, A & Valerie, B. 35). Bullying is real threat especially at school and should not be considerate as simply childhood rites to enjoy themselves. The U.S Department of Education should increase the security guard in every corner of the school, especially where small group of student usually gather, and an agency to fight crime inside the neighborhood should be put in place to eradicate violence in the street and make the street clean for the children to go to school safely; as for example, allocated funds to the local administration to do it. This is necessary because it will allow school to decrease the rate of violence and make the environment for the student learning peaceful and safe again for the children to develop their skill.
Parents, in collaboration with school teachers should be the role model of the students before those kids get involve in society. By being the role model, both parents and school teachers should give the proper way to behave with their children or students. There is no single cause for student’s dropout from the schools if it is not the lack of role model in the children lives. In his book Kotlowitz mentions with the example of Terence that: “Terence had little need for school. He dropped out in the seventh grade and was recorded as ‘lost’ by the school system.” (Kotlowitz A 35) The decision to drop out from lower school is a dangerous way for the students; with Terence’s case, it easy to see the lack of encouragement from the school which gave up on him so easily, and second much important the parents who have done nothing either to maintain him at school. In the same logic than Kotlowitz, Swanson with the response to a survey report different causes of dropout such as an absence of attachment to the school environment; a perception that school education is useless; feeling unmotivated due to lack of encouragement on the parent’s part and the academic challenges and peer pressures (Swanson, C 1). But indications are strong enough that these barriers to education and employment are not impossible to overcome and must be overcome to avoid 90 percent of dropout rate which is also a threat for the whole society by just filling out the prison and endangering the economic wave of their nation. To avoid school dropout, the school with the complete collaboration with parents can take the following measures to reduce the dropouts: Improve teaching and curricula to make learning more interesting, and engaging and enhance the connection between schools, home and neighborhood; confirm that each student has a robust relationship with at least one grownup person in the school; provide role model education to expose the students to specific attitudes such as lifestyles and outlooks that are close to their lives.
The lack of appropriate resources for the school is the last problem to impeach a Gold School. It can create a disorder within the education system though it worsens the two problems cited above uncontrollable violence and the lack of encouragement. If first of all the school building is not in a good shape meaning trashy, how can it motivate student to stay in this kind of environment? And after the decaying building the rest will be easy to guess, such as the lack of skilled teachers which bring the wrong method of teaching and bring the failure of the student to attend class which will precipitate the children to dropout. In his book Kotlowitz with an example of Crane school states that: “Crane is one of the city’s worst high schools. It stretches for an entire city block just a quarter of a mile south of Horner, a grim, squat stone structure with pillars marking its entrance.” (Kotlowitz ) From this quote it is to say that resources are assets used to achieve goals as for example to attract students to school. To backup Kotlowitz illustration the Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development suggests that the school management must develop project reports and seek aids from various quarters and establish the required resources within the school (OECD 2). In order to attract and be presentable as its name school is saying, the school management has to do something to fix the school problems. The school authorities with the support of parents association, and state government make plans to develop and upgrade resources. The school management must develop project reports and seek aids from various quarters and establish the required resources within the school.
Assuming that enough funds are allocated to the HSES, the first step towards creating a safer environment could be fortifying the current violence reporting systems. This will alert the teachers, students, parents, the public, law enforcement, and legislators. A questionnaire may be provided to students and other stakeholders. The questionnaire shall help both stakeholders and the students become aware of the extent of their problem, and serves as a measure of improvements in school climate once other interventions are implemented concurrently ( Tamanini, K 1).
HSES, perhaps redo their layouts with open spaces, with more light and air, with visibility from many angles, with visually inviting play and amenities’ center, etc. in consultation with an architect and a school psychologist. The physical environment and lay out of schools can affect the likelihood of student violence (Council of Europe 19). Corridor encounters, idle times, lunch queues, etc. are the time students use to settle scores with others. Council of Europe 19 suggests having more open areas with clear visibility. It is also advisable to appoint trained supervisors at the violence flashpoints.
Various programs may be designed to promote non-threatening climate in the school, for example, a parental awareness program may be initiated during parent-teacher meetings. The goal of such meetings is to increase parental awareness about the bullying problem, highlight the importance of parental involvement, and encourage parental support in tackling bullying. (Tamanini, K 1). In house school interventions are found to be very effective in addressing social, emotional, and behavioral problems in children (S. Scheckner et.al. 6). But it is necessary to act quickly to prevent problems from worsening and escalating to unmanageable levels.
HSES must ensure that all the programs they undertake, must involve and touch the real issues of their students, for which they need to develop certain school policies or class rules to deal with violence, nurture helping behaviors and promote learning ambience. The most effective anti –violence programs reach students, their parents, and the teachers (S. Scheckner et.al. 7). At class level, teachers can work with students to develop norms against bullying and norms to build learning environment. Many programs such as role-playing exercises and related assignments can teach and engage those students directly involved in bullying. The victims as well as perpetrators can learn from this exercise. These programs can influence the neutral students how they can help the victims and how everyone can work together to build a favorable school climate.
Anti- violence program must reach a significant number of students in the school. Hence, anti-bullying initiatives may include individualized sessions with the bullies and victims. Implementation of cooperative learning exercises is yet another way to reduce bullying behavior and social isolation. The teachers may supervise the students during key times such as inter class recess or lunch time (Tamanini, K 1). Another program buddying assignment of pupils (a pupil has to befriend another pupil in the school) could be very effective (Council of Europe 68). The buddying process can take place in an informal setting, such as a playground, canteen, etc. Befrienders are usually either same-age pupils or older students who are selected by the teacher based on the pupil’s personal qualities.
Periodically, audits on violence and safety may be conducted at school level. Audits are a process through which HSES will be able to assess its position in relation to various aspects of student’s school life (Council of Europe 23). Based on the assessment of the nature and magnitude of the problem the school can take preventive and remedial action.
Expected Challenges in the way of Implementation
There are many challenges for building positive school climate and safer schools. School administrators have reported all types of behaviors in school premises, such as vandalism, bullying, peer fights, drug trafficking, suicidal attempts and violence. With limited resources, schools must be really innovative in how they address these issues. The major challenge is preparing the school staff with multidimensional skills. The staff must not only handle academics, they need to perform in the areas of counseling, leading and managing finances. Considering other criteria, all the staff needs to be trained in handling violence and in influencing the students without coercion. Second major challenge could be attracting the funds from the government, corporates and the parents. The school must innovatively introduce schemes that would make the donors interested in the project.
Eliza, Ahmed. & Valerie, Braithwaite. Bullying and Victimization: cause for concern for both families and schools, Social Psychology of Education, 7:35 – 54, 2004.
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