Guns & Violence

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It's illegal for anyone under 21 to buy a handgun.

It's illegal for anyone under 18 to buy a shotgun or rifle.

According to the Department of Education, over 6,000 students were expelled in 1995-1996 for bringing guns to their public schools.

Gun violence is something that needs to be taken seriously by everyone, because no matter where you live, no matter what race you are, no matter how wealthy you are, and no matter how old you are, gun violence can occur anywhere at anytime. We are not trying to scare you. We just want you to be aware. Be observant of the way your friends act. If you notice warning signs, tell an adult. Don't assume the problem will work itself out. It might not. There are few chances a person has to save a life. If you are presented with a chance, don't wait until it's too late, because if you do, a precious life can be lost.

School and youth violence is a serious, very possible threat to any school including yours. For a sobering experience, read through our School Violence Timeline, which lists and briefly describes trajic events that occurred in the US over the last decade.

Preventing Violence

Risk Factors and warning signs for violent behavior

  • Previous aggressive or violent behavior
  • Victimized by physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
  • Genetic factors
  • Exposure to violence in the media
  • Drugs or alcohol abuse
  • Presence of firearms in the home
  • Combination of stressful family factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
  • Brain damage from head injury

Warning signs of violent behavior in youth

  • Intense anger
  • Frequent loss of temper or blowups
  • Extreme irritability
  • Extreme impulsiveness
  • Easily frustrated

Help for Troubled Teens

Many people can feel desperately alone at times. Despair caused by a break up with a girlfriend, a parental separation, the death of a close family member or friend, a drug addiction, or emotional abuse from classmates can be too much to bear. The best way to deal with issues such as these is to talk to someone about it. Talk to your parents, your friends, your local religious leader, your athletic coach, your teacher or your principle. Nobody is going to punish you for telling the truth or for expressing how you feel. If you cannot find an adult to talk to, please do yourself a favor and call a crisis hotline.

Crisis & Grief Counseling

Boys Town National Hotline
Crisis counseling for girls and boys and referral to local help

The National "YOUTH" Crisis Help line

Helping a Friend in Crisis

If you know someone whose going through a tough time, try hard to talk to them about it. Even if you think they want to be left alone, you should express to them that you care and want to help. In addition to offering your own help, encourage them to seek help from an adult or at least from a crisis center. (Crisis center numbers are listed above.) If they don't accept your help, you should contact an adult that might have more of an effect. It's better to temporarily annoy your friend, than to do nothing until it's too late. Bringing their problem to someone else's attention could stop them from endangering themselves or others.

What to do about a Threat

In shootings that involve a pair of students, neither would probably have the self-motivation to carry out such a violent act without the support of the other. Usually there is one who is more the leader, and one who is more the follower. For this reason, violent acts are often discussed before they occur. As soon as you hear conversations that include threats, violent plans, the death of certain teachers or classmates, or talk of weapons or bringing weapons to school, whether they're pipe bombs, guns, knives, etc., immediately inform your principal or a teacher. These are not light-hearted issues. With the tragedies that have occurred in the world today, these subjects require our utmost attention and action.

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Related Info

Boys Town National Hotline
Crisis counseling for girls and boys and referral to local help

The National "YOUTH" Crisis Help line