Youth violence in the U.S. is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24—one of the many reasons National Youth Violence Prevention Week seeks to educate students, teachers, school staff, parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence.
Taking place next week, March 23-27, 2015, Youth Violence Prevention Week is founded by The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE). The initiative kicks off with the 15th SAVE Summit March 21, and expands nationally next week to encourage communities to host events and workshops engaging students in the fight to stop shootings, bullying and other violence in our schools using the planning tools and resources in SAVE’s Action Kit.
According to SAVE, violence in schools has become devastatingly common in the United States (statistics sourced from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention):
- On average, 1,642 young people 10 to 24 years old had physical assault injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments EVERY DAY last year.
- Between 20 and 33 percent of U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. 70 percent of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
- Only about 20 to 30 percent of students who are bullied notify adults.
- About 17 percent of high school students in 2013 reported taking a weapon to school.
During the week of March 23-27, SAVE will offer activity ideas for schools and community organizations across the country to host events educating youth on the potential of their positive impacts on their communities. Below are a list of events produced by SAVE and its sponsors:
- Monday, March 23: Promote Respect and Tolerance day is hosted by Teaching Tolerance, an organization dedicated to reducing prejudice and supporting equitable school experiences for children. Schools can hold a cultural day to celebrate activities, dress and customs from groups around the world.
- Tuesday, March 24: Manage Your Anger, Don’t Let It Manage You day is hosted by the American School Counselor Organization, which supports school counselors' focus on student development. This day challenges students to create signs or codes to use to communicate when they are angry so they do not let it get out of control.
- Wednesday, March 25: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully day is hosted by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which aims to ensure each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Students can observe conflicts and engage in group discussions to find effective ways to resolve them.
- Thursday, March 26: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully day is hosted by the School Safety Advocacy Council, which provides training to school districts, law enforcement agencies and school safety professionals. School administrators will be challenged on this day to conduct a survey to assess students’ perceptions of safety during the school day and ask for suggestions to improve.
- Friday, March 27: Unite in Action day is hosted by Youth Service America, which increases the number and the diversity of volunteer opportunities for youth around the globe. To wrap up the week, a final challenge will work to “beautify” the school or community by cleaning up graffiti/vandalized areas.
Visit the National Youth Violence Prevention Week website for an activity planning guide, as well as suggested ideas targeted at specific audiences involved in young people’s lives (ie: parents, school, senior citizens, law enforcement, medical services, etc.)
Updated: March 19 2015