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ERIC Number: EJ990227
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-1478-8497
Columbine and beyond
Klonsky, Michael
International Journal on School Disaffection, v2 n1 p45-51 2004
Immediately following the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, the issue of school size jumped onto the front pages and into policy discussions. When violent episodes broke out in Littleton, Colorado, Port Huron, Michigan and in other districts, they have dominated the national media scene for months in a way that student deaths in the inner city never have. "Time magazine" ran a special cover story on school violence with an article on the need for smaller schools. That issue also featured a piece on Chicago's Best Practices High School, a new small-by-design high school which was created by a group of teachers in partnership with a local university. Smaller schools may represent an antidote to violent assaults on schools and students. While increased security measures at schools understandably meet with approval from many parents, and to some degree from students, the emphasis on security has thus far proved ineffective unless it is combined with school restructuring and democratic education. In his ethnographic study of inner-city New York schools, John Devine (1996) found that this focus on security only increases the expectation of violence, and that reliance on security guards tends to take responsibility away from teachers. Devine promotes social and emotional educational efforts as an intervention process in public schools aimed at making them safer and more effective learning environments. The problem with large schools is their pervasive anonymity. Social and emotional interventions are nearly impossible, which means that the anonymity becomes dangerous. In small schools, strangers are quickly noticed and encountered; in large schools, it becomes relatively easy for them to go about the building with little or any questioning. In the post-Columbine era, it is possible to reshape school culture; to create and build positive rituals, traditions and relationships that discourage violence and promote a sense of community. But culture-shaping is not easy and may be impossible in large traditional settings without strong support from the entire school community.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado; Illinois; Michigan; New York