Violence in the School System

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Throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s violence in school systems across America had a huge impact on the way that both youth and teenagers perceived school as well as education itself as a whole. Being members of a post war society most teenagers still had a feeling of fight contained within their systems but they had nothing to displace these feelings upon. As these contained feelings slowly built up teenagers became more rebellious and unruly, two traits that would eventually lead to the creation of violence in schools across the nation.

Most teenagers in this time period felt that school itself was a waste of time and preferred to skip education and get involved in the work force right away. Even though the jobs most teenagers acquired weren’t the easiest or most desirable, these employed individuals felt accomplished and were able to support themselves as well as their families.

However school soon became a mandatory aspect for youth in the eyes of society and these teenagers were ripped away from the jobs they loved and put into classrooms eight hours a day, seven days a week. This forceful movement of teenagers into the school system finally gave these post war teenagers a reason to act upon their built up feelings. School records show that throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s there was a huge spike in violence and the most frequent incidents of this violence were physical (beating), stabbings and shootings.

The most common victim of this violence was school employees as well as small and unfavorable social groups amongst the student population. Teachers however were the most vulnerable. Students forced into the education system often blamed teachers for the shift in societies’ views due to the fact that they were the ones who taught education itself.  Most students had a lack of respect for their instructions and would act out whenever teachers tried to begin their lessons.

There are numerous records of teachers being beaten both during and after school hours by single and multiple individuals. Violence with guns and knifes was more common among the different social groups in the school system. Those that were thought of as weird, different or wrong were always at risk and this violence could even be sparked from minor disagreements between friends. With all this violence going on in the school system to both teachers and students it became much harder to encourage individuals to attend school. Students feared for their safety while in attendance to schools and even students who wanted to obtain an education were a bit conflicted. Teachers were also scared to go to work and most individuals who taught at schools wouldn’t even prepare lessons out of fear of the violence.

This violence happened mainly in middle and high school and in the end graduation rates as well as college acceptances decreased tremendously. Those who wanted to get a proper education were too scared to do so and those who did go to school simply sat there either learning nothing at all or inflicting pain on one another.

– John Reinbott

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Posted: Feb. 11th 2015

Revised: Feb. 18th 2015

Works Cited

Castelow, Ellen, “School days in the 1950s and 1960s.” (2013). Accessed March 16 2015. 

Indiana, Jen, “Why 1950s in America was not magical. (2011). Accessed March 16 2015. 

K12 Academics, “History of School Shootings in the United States.” (2015). Accessed March 16 2015. 

University of Virginia, “Violence in Schools and Communities.”(2014) Accessed March 16 2015. 

Vargas, Anali, “Major Differences between High School in the 1950s and now.” (2004). Accessed March 16th 2015. 


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