Violence in schools has become a vital health and safety concern for not only parents and school officials, but for communities as a whole. Protecting our children from violence, ostracizing activity and bullying is important to not only their emotional and psychological health, but also their physical health. For children who commit violent acts at school, the complications of abnormal psychological behavior can often be traced to grade school or even earlier.
In an effort to manage youth violence risks at school, many schools are implementing youth violence prevention programs. While we hope that one exposure to a youth violence prevention program will net the results we desire, the fact is, students require repeated exposure to these programs, every year, multiple times per school year. For students in middle school and high school, youth violence prevention programs are crucial to creating continuity in the entire school.
Creating age-appropriate youth violence prevention programs has become a key focus of many school districts. Because the exposures and triggers at school vary from age to age, the youth violence prevention program must be designed to meet those unique needs. In some schools, these youth violence prevention programs are grounded in the creative arts or theater arts programs.
For theater arts programs, the environment allow for improvisation, skits, role play and perspective sharing among students. This engaging and innovative approach allows for a more interactive learning experience in managing anger, bullying and threats. If your child attends a school where a youth violence prevention program is being established, or has not yet been established, you may want to become involved in the creation through an arts program.
As a parent, it is important to become involved in the programs at your child’s school. While the school district is ultimately responsible for the curriculum offered, as a parent, you can provide insight and support. Suggesting the incorporation of youth violence prevention programs in the creative arts divisions and creative arts programs may be a great way you can become involved and an active participant. While many creative arts educators are focused upon the academic and abstract teaching, part of their curriculum should focus on youth violence prevention, even if only for a few days of the school year.
Reducing the risk for youth violence is a key focus in many schools today. While we can not control all actions and thoughts of our children, we can guide them into making better decisions, and into development of better relationships with one another. Through the use of youth violence prevention programs in the creative arts classroom, many schools are teaching and reaching students with a message on violence prevention that would otherwise not be made.