Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

What explains the recent youth violence we’ve been seeing?

by Patt Morrison

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Students leave with parents from Maple Elementary School after a shooting at Chardon High School Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in Chardon, Ohio. Students assembled at Maple Elementary School after a shooting took place at the high school. A gunman opened fire inside the high school's cafeteria at the start of the school day, wounding four students, officials said. A suspect is in custody. Tony Dejak/AP

A shooting at a high school in Ohio; a fatal schoolyard fight between girls; an 8 year critically wounds classmate after bringing gun to Seattle school. Those headlines from the past week would suggest something is terribly wrong with young people today, but of course that kind of thinking—that today’s youth is always exceptionally worse off than its older generations—is as old as ancient Greece. Violence among young people has in fact dramatically declined and stabilized over the past 20 years.


Are we just supersaturated with coverage of these tragic events when they happen? What do you think accounts for stories like these in the past week? Are teachers less likely or even able to intervene in altercations between students?


Karen Sternheimer, sociologist at USC specializing in media, youth, and culture; author, “Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions About Today’s Youth”

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