Violence in Schools and Work

Violence in Schools and Work

Last week, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds announced an effort to mentor Iowa’s girls going into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, Million Women Mentors Iowa. The program’s goal is to recruit 5,000 female and male mentors from all counties by 2018. If you are interested: Million Women Mentors Iowa.

At our Chrysalis Roundtable, Joe Gonzalez and Officer Sone Cam delivered a startling presentation on violence in schools and workplaces – and how to prepare for situations that may escalate into a crisis. We continue to gain respect for the caliber and training of Des Moines’ police officers, their knowledge, and their training.

As you may know from the daily news, school and workplace violence is not new. The challenge is that increasingly, violent situations escalate to become dangerous for anyone connected to the site, or anyone unfortunate enough to be present when it occurs.

Here are some disturbing statistics about this type of violence:


  1. In 2011, 20% of high school students were bullied at school, and 33% reported being involved in a physical fight in the last year.
  2. In one month, nearly 6% of high school students stayed home because they felt unsafe at or on their way to school.
  3. More than 7% of 9th through 12th graders reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once in the last year. An additional 6% admitted to bringing a weapon to school for protection.
  4. In 2010 there were more than 800,000 nonfatal school victimizations of children and teens ages 12 to 18. Almost 500,000 of these occurrences were thefts.
  5. Risk factors for youth violence include violent histories, drug or alcohol use, poverty in the community, poor grades, association with troubled peers, and troublesome home life.
  6. Students aren’t the only ones in danger of school violence. Almost 7% of teachers reported being threatened or physically injured by a student from their school.
  7. Only 39% of schools in the 2009-2010 school year took serious disciplinary action against a student for special offenses. Actions included out-of-school suspension, expulsion, or transfer to a specialty school.
  8. In the U.S., 33 school-associated violent deaths occurred in the 2009-2010 school year including homicides, suicides, and legal interventions. 18 of these occurred on school property.
  9. Youth and school violence can lead to depression, alcohol and drug use, suicide, anxiety, and fear.
  10. In recent years, assault by weapon, cases of intimidation and bullying, and alcohol possession have all more than doubled on school properties.
  11. Drug possessions at school more than doubled from 2005 to 2011. Teachers confirm that violence may not be spiking, but records are being kept much more accurately than in the past.


Each week in the U.S., an average of 20 homicides and 18,000 assaults occur on the job. Homicide is the second leading cause of work-related death, exceeded only by motor vehicle fatalities. One million workers are assaulted every year, accounting for 15% of the violent acts experienced by U.S. residents age 12 or older.

  1. For the first ten years of the 21st century, an average of 558 work-related homicides occurred annually in the U. S.
  2. The fastest growing category of homicides in the workplace are committed by customers.
  3. Suicides in the workplace reached an all-time high of 270 incidents in 2010.
  4. Non-fatal assaults most often occur in nursing homes, social services, hospitals, and late-night convenience stores.
  5. Workplace violence costs the United States an estimate $121 billion each year.
  6. Non-fatal assaults alone result in more than 876,000 lost workdays and $16 million in lost wages.
  7. Additional costs of violence in the workplace include lost productivity, staff turnover, counseling, contract or sales loss, cleaning, increased insurance cost, and lawsuits and settlements.

In addition to our work to prevent violence through Chrysalis After-School, this information is vital for us to share with our community. The losses are insurmountable when violence surfaces – beginning in our homes. Please remind friends to monitor what children are watching on television and internet, and to talk with children about what they see and feel when they see or hear about violence – particularly when it occurs at home. This is the first line of defense in violence prevention, and it’s simply a matter of paying attention.