School Violence and how to avoid it

Taylor Foote, staff writer

No matter where you go to school, chances are you’ve seen a fight, or at least know of one that has happened. Kids everywhere get into fights with other kids for various reasons. Rather than talk about it, they settle problems with their fists. Obviously talking it out or simply walking away are better choices, but many students choose to fight instead.

There are a variety of reasons to fight. Based on a national survey taken in 1999, about 54% of fights started because someone insulted another person. About 44% were because of a prior dispute between the two people involved. Hurtful rumors caused 40% of fights, and anger management issues led to 39% of the fights.  Around 21% of fights happened because someone didn’t want to look like a loser, and surprisingly only 19% of fights happened over a girl or guy. Fights don’t happen without reason, and kids will always find some reason to fight.

It happens so commonly that most people look at it as a part of growing up. Especially among guys, getting into a fight is seen as a rite of passage. Granted, more guys than girls have been reported to fight. In that same survey, 44% of guys reported that they had gotten in a fight, and only 27% of girls reported getting into a fight. Anybody can get into a fight, but certain people are more likely to fight. For example, younger people are more likely to get into a fight than older people. Over 40% of 9th graders said they had been in a fight during the past year, while only 30% of 12th graders admitted to fighting during that time. Kids who use alcohol and drugs are much more likely to fight. When participants in a fight are drunk or high, over 60% of them received serious injuries such as broken bones, loss of consciousness, and knife or gunshot wounds, with half of them using weapons. When you take alcohol and drugs out of the equation, only 18% of fights involved serious injuries or weapons. Kids who carry weapons are twice as likely to get into fights, and kids who get into fights at school are ten times as likely to have carried a gun to school. Those students who carry guns are three times more likely to need medical attention. Somehow that seems obvious.

Here are some tips for avoiding fights. Try and figure out a way to calm yourself down when you’re angry so you don’t lose control. Don’t carry any weapons around; weapons cause things to escalate, and you’re obviously more likely to hurt yourself or the person you’re fighting. If you can’t avoid a fight, don’t fight someone who is drunk or high because that lack in judgment increases the chance of serious injury. Also, if you think the other person is carrying a weapon, avoid a fight at all costs. The best way to avoid a fight is to talk it out, try and take it less seriously by using humor. The main thing is to avoid the fight, but if one does happen, avoid getting messed up too bad.