ERIC Number: ED445138
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
A Symbiosis of Sorts: School Violence and the Media. Choices Briefs, Number 7.
Maeroff, Gene I.
This brief examines the effects of media coverage of school violence on school violence. The news media take notice precisely because shootings in a school are unusual. The media did not take much notice of shootings in the 1980s and 1990s in inner city communities because these infractions were not judged to be anomalies; they did not measure up to the common definition of news, being exactly what some white journalists expected in minority communities. The effects of media coverage may be an increase in the fear of youth violence and the occurrence of copycat incidents. Violence portrayed in the electronic media can be particularly harmful because children connect more readily with visual images. The intensive coverage of a few high profile shootings may mislead the public into thinking that violence in the schools is pervasive. The media has a responsibility to keep events in perspective and to respect the privacy of students. Another aspect of the media's relationship with the schools stems from the zero tolerance policies meant to draw a line against violence at the school door. These well-intentioned policies have had some clumsy effects when schools are forced to apply a one-penalty-fits-all consequence that can make school officials look foolish. Schools should use good educational practice rather than Draconian punishments to persuade students to reject violence. (Contains 22 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Metropolitan Life Foundation.
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. Inst. for Urban and Minority Education.