Do Images of School Violence Help or Hinder?

The moment the evening news airs, there’s a live reporter at the scene of a school where flashing lights of ambulances and cop cars are in the background. For some, it’s the riveting kind of news they look forward to. For children, however, these images are shocking and often blaze lasting images in their minds of the dangers that may away them at school. The Internet is even more graphic when unscrupulous individuals get a hold of graphic images of wounded and murdered children such as unauthorized autopsy photographs and post them in the Internet for anyone who has a web connection to view.

Unlike fantasy movies where the injured victim gets up and walks away when the scene is completed, in real life school violence takes children away from real families in crimes where often there are innocent bystanders who are permanent or fatally injured. While it is the responsibility of the appropriate authorities to document these scenes of violence, these professionals are not the only parties who are making permanent records of the violence. What is even more frightening is that these images are being released to the world and showing children first hand more school violence than they should be exposed to.

In many cases, these images are causing children to become desensitized to school violence. Increasing numbers of students are choosing to arm themselves with guns and other weapons in an effort to protect themselves against the violence. Many children are turning to violence as the best solution to problems with other students or authority such as teachers and other school staff. One has to wonder if images of school violence help or hinder. No parent wants their injured or murdered child plastered all over the television, newspaper or Internet; even in cases where the perpetrators have not stood justice for their crime.

Those who have experience school violence as victims don’t want to see images that remind them of the violence either. So, who wants to see these images and why? Concerned citizens should be more interested in taking action to help minimize school violence. Parents of children may have to take a more proactive approach to monitoring the exposure that small children get to school violence. Finger pointing at the media serves little purpose since it is their job to report the news. Censorship often serves to create more desire for that which has been censored out, especially with inquisitive children.

The root of the problem is the school violence itself and only when the numbers of incidents can be reduced can we realistically expect that fewer images will surface our children to find and view. Until such time, the images may continue to hinder more than help.