In the course of the discussion, the emphasis of the discussion approves to the issue concerning the step-by-step evolution of juvenile deviancy. As according to the study of Miller, Wasserman and Neugebauer, juvenile delinquency develops from school violence, which originates from antisocial behavior. Considering the plan of the study, the discussion introduces different arguments from credible scholarly resources, and finally takes into consideration the principal stand of the research – antisocial behavior in School leads to the development of juvenile delinquency.
Synthesis: The Issue on School Violence and Juvenile Delinquency
In 1990s, the term school violence has become associated to the frightening illustrations of deviant behaviors in school and juvenile criminal behaviors. Miller, Wasserman and Neugebauer assert that a longitudinal relationship exists between antisocial behaviors in the school, reported school violence and juvenile delinquency (2). Meanwhile, Heilbrun, Goldstein and Redding add that these incidences of school violence (e.g. student shooting that killed 12 students and 1 teacher in 1999; 3-month continuous incidences of school shooting and gang wars reported in May3, 1999, etc.) are no longer considered appropriate for the term violence , but a form of juvenile crime (46). Sprague and Walker maintain that the overall juvenile crime rate and the alarming increase in interpersonal violence are associated with a dramatic escalation in the number of children who bring antisocial behavior patterns to the schooling experience (6). According from the National School Safety Center of United States (NSSC), the 93 reported incidences of school homicides between 1992 to 1993 and 2001 to 2003 have resulted to the murder of 116 individuals (Heilbrun, Goldstein and Redding 46). Considering these incidences, various studies (Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber; Edward and Cauffman; Miller, Wasserman and Neugebauer) add to the claims of antisocial behavior as the principal component that predicts juvenile delinquency.
According to the study of Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber, a developmental pathway exists between antisocial behavior and aggression that can be traced back from the early experiences with a disrupted and chaotic environment, such as chaotic family, inconsistent parenting, etc. Furlong and Bates support the latter assertion by identifying four specific antisocial behaviors that link to school violence and eventually juvenile crimes, namely (1) problem behavior observable during 4 to 5 years of age, (2) engagement in a variety of problem behaviors (e.g. over and cover behaviors), (3) problem behavior exhibited in a variety of settings (e.g. home, community and school, etc.), and (4) display of extreme aggression (117-118). In addition, Sprague and Walker state that these antisocial behaviors begin early in the child’s life and can occur across multiple settings and context regardless of the child’s racial or biological composition (6). Lastly, Rutherford, Quin and Mathur claim that the development of antisocial behavior is purely developmental in the child’s nature (255).
On the other argument, McEvoy contends that the instillation of antisocial behavior is not developmental in nature, but due to the climatic condition of the school. McEvoy points out that the occurrence of School violence and anti-social behaviors actually depend on the policy implementations, disciplinary implementations and effectiveness of violence prevention programs. To support the claims, Mulvey and Cauffman assert the component of social climate prevailing within the social circle of an individual as the principal etiology that cultivates antisocial behavior. Behavioral interactions of an antisocial individual towards the outside systems (e.g. family, school, community, etc.) signify potential relationship between violent ideations and delinquency (Luiselli and Diament 83). According to McEvoy, high incidences of observed antisocial behavioral patterns and school violence cases are present among academic institutions that implement ambiguous sanctions, punitive teacher attitudes, poor teacher-administrator cooperation, and the implementation of physical restrictions (e.g. metal detectors, high-fencing, etc.). Luiselli and Diament point out that the aggressive school actions (e.g. expulsions, suspensions, etc.) increases antisocial behavior among students (84). As supported by Mayer and Leone, school environment and the prevailing social climate great foster the development of antisocial behavior due to the implications of insisting criminal character towards the general body of students.
From these two perspectives of antisocial behavior etiologies, the stand the paper agrees to the initial statement wherein faulty developmental milieu is considered as cultivating component of these behaviors. In the next section of the study, the discussion justifies the longitudinal pathway of antisocial behavior, school violence and juvenile delinquency.
Position: Antisocial Behavior in School Leads to Juvenile Delinquency
The stand of the discussion supports the longitudinal relationships among antisocial behavior, school violence and juvenile delinquency, which are associated to developmental experiences of an individual. Considering this position, we consider family as the primary contributor of developmental milieu followed by the environment wherein an individual settles. According to the developmental theory (Psychosocial) of Erik Erikson with support from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the social and emotional needs of an individual greatly determine the finalization of the person’s character e.g. Erikson’s infancy opposition milieus – Trust vs. Mistrust, Industry vs. Guilt, etc; Maslow’s self-esteem affecting self-actualization level). Hence, if an individual confronts a chaotic and aggressive family atmosphere during infancy till adolescence, Erikson points out the tendency of developing negative behaviors, particularly (1) mistrust, (2) shame and doubt, (3) Guilt, (4) inferiority and (5) role confusion, which can pose as an actual antisocial behaviors. Furthermore, if the self-esteem level of an individual does not progress to the higher levels of needs (i.e. feelings of safety/security, love and belongingness and self-actualization), the individual remains stagnant looking for the appropriate source of self-esteem needs.
Considering the developmental nature of these antisocial behaviors, a longitudinal relationship can definitely exist if these negative behaviors are not prevented or corrected. According to the assertions of Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber, and Furlong and Bates, school violence results as an outcome of the individual’s subconscious search of resolving the developmental needs that are not yet provided or instilled to his or her personality. In a simpler sense, antisocial behaviors are considered channels for them to search out their missing needs, which unfortunately resort to violence due to the negative nature of failed developmental stages. With progressive developmental crisis, antisocial behavior strengthens and the tendency for an individual to commit school violence increases. In this scenario, school violent behaviors (e.g. aggression, deviant activities – substance abuse, physical violence, self-inflicted violence, etc.) become habitual in frequency and intrinsic to the personality of an individual. Considering this stage, a juvenile delinquent individual results from this developmental crisis, antisocial behavior and habitual school violent acts.
To argue on the climate-oriented violence, these environmental components being asserted by Mulvey and Cauffman, McEvoy, and Luiselli and Diament are the outcomes of the longitudinal development occurring in a delinquent juvenile. The atmosphere of antisocial behavior results from the actual prevalence of these delinquents’ behavior and activities. Hence, social climate is considered as the third-party result of the prevailing number of delinquents under developmental crisis.
In conclusion, a direct longitudinal relationship exists among the three components, (1) antisocial behavior, (2) school violence and (3) juvenile delinquency. Antisocial behavior results from problematic or faulty developmental milieus that produce negative behavior (e.g. mistrust, doubt, etc). If these antisocial behaviors are not corrected, violence and aggression become the main channels of their search for filling in these needs. Eventually, juvenile delinquency results from the habitual violent acts in school and unresolved antisocial behaviors from developmental crisis.
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Furlong, Michael J., and Michael P. Bates. Appraisal and Prediction of School Violence: Methods, Issues, and Contents. London, New York: Nova Publishers, 2004.
Heilbrun, Kirk, Naomi E. Goldstein, and Richard E. Redding. Juvenile Delinquency: Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention. Oxfordshire, U.K: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Loeber, R, and M Stouthamer-Loeber. “Development of juvenile aggression and violence. Some common misconceptions and controversies..” Journal of American Psychology 53.2 (Feb. 1998): 242-259.
Mayer, Matthew J., and Peter E. Leone. “A Structural Analysis of School Violence and Disruption: Implications for Creating Safer Schools.” Journal of Education and Treatment of Children 22.3 (Aug. 1999): 333-356.
McEvoy, Allan. “Antisocial Behavior, Academic Failure, and School Climate.” Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 8.3 (June 2000): 130-140.
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