The overall youth homicide
rate dropped in 1997, but the rate among small town and rural youth
increased by 38 percent. That statistic highlights my conviction
that no longer can any of us believe that we and our children are
immune to lethal youth violence, because today almost every teenager
in America goes to school with a kid who is troubled enough to become
the next killer-the chances are that kid has access to the weapons
necessary to do so.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention report on Gang Violence: National Youth Gang Survey Trends From 1996 to 2000
School Shootings Timeline from October 1997 to April 2007
• Aggressive children comprise one-third of the referrals to child and adolescent clinics.
• Forty-seven percent of parents say their chief concern is crime and violence in school.
According to interactional theory, delinquency comes about because of the pattern of interactions between the individual and his or her environment. As bonds to conventional society (e.g., parents and teachers) weaken, social control is reduced and delinquency becomes more likely. For prolonged serious delinquency to emerge, however, association with other delinquent youth and the information of delinquent beliefs are required. Once these delinquent patterns emerge, they have feedback effects, further eroding the person's bond to conventional society. These mutually reinforcing effects create trajectories toward increasing levels of involvement in delinquency. Social network theory is a complementary perspective that focuses on the impact of the social groups, on networks, in which the person is involved. All networks control the behavior of their members and channel that behavior toward consistency with group norms. Prosocial networks (e.g., Boy Scouts) increase the likelihood of conforming behavior; antisocial network (e.g.,gangs) increase the likelihood of antisocial behavior. The more pervasive the network is in a person's life, the more powerful the effect it has on his or her behavior. - Gang membership, Delinquent Peers and Delinquent Behavior, 10/98, NCJ 182990, U.S. Department of Justice, NCJ 171119
• 46% of males, and 26% of females
reported they had been in physical fights. (Bureau
of Justice, 2001)
• 86% said, "other kids picking
on them, making fun of them or bullying them" causes teenagers
to turn to lethal violence in the schools. (Bureau
of Justice, 2001)
Age 15 is near the peak age of
involvement for both gang membership and delinquency.
The most serious and chronic
offenders often show signs of antisocial behavior as early as the preschool
Six thousand American
students were kicked out of school in the 1996-97 school year for
Juvenile homicide is twice
as common today as it was in the mid-1980's. It isn't the brains
kids are born with that has changed in half a generation: what has
changed in the ubiquity of violence, the easy access to guns and
the glorification of revenge in real life and in entertainment.
Research by Sheppard Kellam and
his colleagues demonstrates that if a 1st grade classroom is well organized
and provides clear messages about the behavior, boys' aggressive behavior
Research shows that patterns
of aggression start to become stable and predictable by the time a
child is 8 years old.
Since 1992 the annual death toll
from school shootings has more than doubled. In 1997, 8% of high school
students said they had carried a gun to school in the preceding month.
That was down 12% from 1993.
Improved medical trauma technology
has meant that an injury that would have been fatal just twenty years
ago is today much less likely to result in death. For example, in Chicago,
where from the mid-1970's to the mid-1990's the number of serious assaults
(attacks that could lead to the death of the victim) increased 400%
while the homicide rate about the same.
Our juvenile homicide rate is
higher in the U.S. than in any other industrialized country. Canada
reports a youth homicide rate both one tenth that of the US.
Juvenile arrest for possession
of weapons, aggravated assault, robbery, and murder rose more than
50 percent from 1987 to 1996.
A sevenfold increase in serious
assault by juveniles in the U.S. since WW2.
The overall youth homicide rate
dropped in 1997, but the rate among small town and rural youth increased
by 38 percent.
Each murder committed
by an adolescent is matched by a suicide-about twenty-three hundred
Youth suicide rates skyrocketed
400 percent since 1950.
Weapons: 1997 CDC survey, revealed
that 28% of adolescent boys carried a weapon-gun, a knife, or a club-in
the previous month, with 13% carrying a weapon to school in the previous
month. They do so primarily because they feel threatened and can't
count on adults to protect them.
Surveys show that most
boys and many girls exhibit some delinquent behavior driving their
teenage years, with more than 60% engaging in some combination of
aggressive acts, drug abuse, arson, and vandalism. 4% to 7% of kids
exhibit chronic patterns of bad behavior and aggression that are
serious enough to constitute a diagnosable mental health problem,
such as Conduct Disorder. Boys are 3 to 4 times more likely to display
this pattern as are girls.
Neglect is more common than abuse:
More kids are emotionally abandoned than are directly attacked, physically
or emotionally. According to the federal government's National Incidence
Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, there are almost 900,000 cases of
neglect and about 750,000 cases of abuse. Neglect leaves a social vacuum
that may send a child looking for connection elsewhere.