February 28th, 2012
04:13 PM ET

Shifting schools' 'culture of hostility' to 'culture of caring'

In schools across the United States, students report the same kinds of trouble: bullying, harassment, being called "gay" or "slut," says Jessie Klein,  author of "The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools," which comes out in March.

So, as parents, educators and law enforcement replay what led to a school shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio on Monday, Klein, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Adelphi University, says they shouldn't look for "red flags" from the student. Instead, she says, focus on creating a "culture of caring" at schools.

"School shootings are just one symptom of a culture of despair in our schools," Klein said. "There's just a culture of hostility in their schools and different students react to it in different ways."

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Filed under: Issues • video
February 28th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

Why does America lead the world in school shootings?

Editor's Note: Dr. Frank Ochberg is clinical professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University and former associate director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

By Frank Ochberg, Special to CNN

(CNN) - School shootings are far more frequent in America than in other countries, although terrible massacres have occurred in Russia, Israel and several European nations. In the high-crime neighborhoods of inner cities, school turf is relatively safe. We have learned to harden the target and patrol with vigilance.

And even in those suburbs and small towns where spree killings have occurred, the rates, per capita, are lower now than in previous decades. School is a safe place – until, as in Chardon, Ohio, the unspeakable happens. Then, even though the risks are low, it is fair to ask, why does this still happen? Why here, in America?

Let's be clear. There is no single, certain answer to these questions. The possible factors include failure by classmates, parents and school officials to see the warning signs; bullying and revenge; serious mental illness; violent role models; drugs; access to guns, and a culture that condones extremism.

America has its share of these factors, but which are significant and which are more prevalent here than across the Atlantic?

Read the full post on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS blog

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Filed under: School violence • Voices
February 28th, 2012
06:20 AM ET

Today's Reading List

On Friday, New York City Public Schools released performance data on thousands of its teachers. These "Teacher Data Reports" try to calculate the value of a teacher based on how well that teacher's students perform on standardized tests. Opinions on the release of this data vary widely and were expressed in media outlets across the city and nationwide. Today's Reading List focuses on some stories and responses to the release of that data:

The Wall Street Journal Online: Teacher Rankings Opened to View

The New York Times: Parents Have Mixed Views on Teacher Rankings

New York Post: Parents praise release of NYC public school teacher ratings

GothamSchools: Many parents in the dark on teacher ratings on first day back

The Atlantic: The Trouble With New York's Teacher Data Dump

CBS New York: Release of NYC Public School Teacher Ratings Draws Ire

United Federation of Teachers: Q&A on Teacher Data Reports and Teacher Evaluation

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Filed under: Issues • Policy • Practice • Today's Reading List • video • Voices