Violence Prevention: The School and Its Community
Dr Rosonna Tite.
When I first had the idea to develop a graduate course on school violence, I did so because I felt strongly that students who were preparing to take on leadership roles in the schools have a substantial responsibility in becoming familiar with the nature of school violence, its causes and risk factors, and the implementation of successful programs which address the complexity of the issue. What I soon began to recognize was the gap between teachers’ knowledge of violence prevention and what appeared to be an exceptionally well mobilized community response. While teachers and administrators seem to get most of their information about violence from the police, by and large in offender-targeted programs, the community seems to be well positioned to provide pro-active information and support and a host of innovative programs based on substantial research. I began to wonder why the school seemed so removed from their local community’s efforts and what it would take to bring the school to the community violence prevention table.
The result of that thinking is the research which I will present at the conference. Using a network sample, I interviewed 17 participants from three provinces in Atlantic Canada, all members of community grassroots organizations, including women’s centres, anti-violence committees, parents’ groups, sexual assault crisis centres, boys’ and girls’ clubs and legal information groups. What I found was a wide range of well-developed violence prevention initiatives on topics ranging from bullying to date rape, a profound concern for the young people in their communities and very clear understandings about the negotiations that become necessary in terms of getting their messages into the schools.
For this presentation, I will begin with a brief description of the participants and a summary of the range of violence prevention initiatives I learned about. I will then move on to a discussion of the participants’ experiences of working with the school, including how first contacts are made, the kinds of negotiations they engage in, the boundaries that are placed on them and why, and their level of satisfaction with their current activities. I will complete the presentation with the participants thoughts on what is needed in order to develop effective community-school partnerships for the purpose of violence prevention.
Dr Rosonna Tite (Canada)
Faculty of Education
Rosonna Tite is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. Her interests include issues of violence, gender, community-school relations and research methods.
(30 min Conference Paper, English)