Whether or Not There Is A Denial of Responsibility on The School’s Part In The Increasing Incidences of School Violence

School violence is not uncommon. It has always been a hot issue causing concern for parents and frustration for the whole of society.  In one recent incident of school violence, a 7th grade student at a junior high school in Tuyen Quang threw a slipper at a teacher and locked the teacher in the classroom, once again. angering Vietnamese society. It’s frustrating not only because this is a social problem involving violence occurring in the nation’s schools, but also the larger questions it poses to society. We can ask ourselves why we become so upset when these incidents occur. Moreover, we ask, in a civil society why have conditions gotten so bad to the extent students result to violence against their teachers?

At the ensuing government press conference on the afternoon of December 6, 2023, the Deputy Minister of Education Hoang Minh Son was very concerned when characterizing this latest act of violence as a “very serious, unacceptable” incident. He added, “It is necessary to clarify the cause of the incident, whether it was the teacher or the student, or the responsibility of the school, to rectify, handle it strictly, and learn from this disturbing experience!”.  The concerns of the Deputy Minister of Education were expressed proactively for the first time with a decision to suspend the principal of the secondary school where the incident took place.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, each year there are 1,600-1,800 cases of school violence. On average, there are 5 student fights a day. The level of incidents is increasingly problematic. School violence is no longer just a matter of conflict among students.  We must assess the problem more accurately and acknowledge when school violence also occurs in the teacher-student relationship.  School violence cannot merely cause virtuous alarmist responses. The increasing incidences of violence require “action” to address the situation. The question arises as to who has the authority to deal with the problem. Additionally, we must ask, who is responsible for letting this happen? The increasing severity of the problem necessitates further inquiry as questions once again need to be asked and answers must be found.

There are many different interpretations of school violence. According to Clause 5, Article 2 Decree 80/2017/ND-CP, school violence is an act of torture, maltreatment, beating, or invasion of one’s personal boundaries, physical harming, general health-harming, insults, insults to honor and dignity, isolation, banishment, and other intentional acts that cause physical or mental harm to students that occur in educational establishments or private educational facilities.

Thus, school violence is understood as violent, offensive, and lawless acts that cause physical and mental harm to students in the educational environment. Additionally, school violence can be understood as behavior that negatively affects certain students.

Where does school violence originate?

School violence comes from many different causes, possibly from the family, school, and community.

– The children themselves: Age psychology. Psychological factors associated with puberty are noteworthy when it comes to the causes of school violence. During this period, children experience many changes both physically and psychologically. Their awareness is still limited since they are not aware of what constitutes violent behavior and the level of harm this behavior causes to other students. Children are influenced and stimulated by malign influences, which they internalize as their own responses in social situations.  Some children realize that violent behavior is not good, but cannot control their behavior. Children who have experienced abuse, violence, neglect, or psychological trauma will be at a higher risk of violence. Another psychological theory is that children want to assert themselves, by becoming the leader of a group that bullies students in the same school or class.  In some incidents, a child’s psychological identity rests on the notion they only will become a leader when they are not bullied by others and no one will hurt them anymore.

– Family: Family is the first educational foundation that directly impacts and shapes psychology and behavior. With regard to children’s behavior, it is greatly influenced by their families. Children experiencing violent behavior in their own family helps to explain why these children tend to be more violent than students with a good home life which supports educational environment. A poor family environment, a lack of emotional attachment, a lack of parental supervision, and family conflicts resolved with violence, are the causes of increased risk of aggression. These factors can create opportunities for children to participate in gangs and anti-social behavior including peer violence.

– Society:  One’s living environment greatly affects a child’s personality. If they live in a negative social environment where frequent criminal or violent acts are common, then these children will tend to be more violent and commit crimes more so than other children. On the other hand, negative environments can make children fear for their safety, which can encourage them to use extreme defensive measures to protect themselves.

– School:  Without placing blame for violence solely on the school. It is important to note when school violence does occur, a large part of the problem comes from the school’s educational environment.  The main mission of the school is to teach, to provide knowledge and skills to help children, to teach them to have a positive attitude to life, and in general to become good citizens. Therefore, when the school does not have a suitable academic environment or program of study, it will create an environment of negativity. At this juncture in history, education is focused almost exclusively on academic achievement. Emphasis is placed on the accumulation of knowledge without sufficient focus on character development and a nurturing behavioral culture for children. Most schools have not been able to incorporate practical programs and useful activities into lessons that lack discipline and rules for civil behavior. Moreover, the school’s constant pursuit of academic achievement while simultaneously engaging in misleading and concealed, questionable practices is also a common cause of violence.


Is there a denial of school responsibility for the problem of school violence?

There are many causes of school violence. The question that needs to be addressed is in the aftermath of violent incidents in schools how do we confront this problem? Whose responsibility is it? We can still seek support in the responsibilities of family, school, and society.  But to avoid school violence, there must be responsibility placed foremost on the role of the school!  Without necessarily laying blame exclusively on the school, in incidences of school violence, we should also reflect on the school’s responsibility to safeguard against this problem becoming more and more common. Presently, the severity of incidences shows no signs of stopping.

With regard to no entity, school, family, or society willing to take responsibility for incidences of school violence the school and its environs are the geographical setting where the seeds of school violence are sown, and this is where most of the responsibility lies.  Schools dealing with the problem superficially and indifferently will continue to decline, and witness unending incidences of student-to-peer or student-to-teacher violence.

It is sensible advice to say that families must actively engage in their children’s education and raise their children’s awareness towards preventing violence. But the school is not just a place for students to learn rote educational concepts.  It seems that nowadays there are many schools that think their only responsibility is to achieve a high degree of literacy for their young students. Unfortunately, these same schools adopt a stance that they have no further responsibilities other than literacy. School incidents of violence can occur inside and outside the school grounds but it must be stated, the violence originates from the students themselves.  Furthermore, a school is an environment where children have an opportunity to holistically develop. Accordingly, we might ask if that environment is good enough or, does it provides a good enough framework that supports students who know how to follow the rules of a civil society. School violence originates from students, but for school violence to occur, it is clear that greater responsibility must lie with the school. If the school’s primary consideration is academic knowledge only, is this an acceptable, comprehensive educational system? Are civic education and psychology subjects aimed at developing personality, equipping knowledge and life skills, being taught seriously or are they just formalities schools are encouraged to teach without serious consideration? Are all the attendant problems in a child’s character development considerations independent of their school life?

These considerations are worth mentioning in relation to the incident of students throwing the teachers’ sandals and how things got to this point. What are the responsibilities of teachers in this particular incident? What is the teacher’s pedagogical capability and ability to handle situations that led to today’s incident? An incident that leads to a climax must go through a process of formation, sparked by small conflicts. This teacher’s responsibility cannot be ignored.  It is understandable that a student acts disrespectfully towards a teacher. It can be thought that this was the rash action of an individual student. But the clip shows more than a dozen students attacking the teacher, including girls, so we have to pause, and ask “Why?” How can teachers contribute to conditions where so many students react violently, even though their reactions are unacceptable by the norms of a civil society? Are the pedagogical, psychological, and situation-handling abilities of current teachers too inadequate to be able to resolve small conflicts, which allow conflicts to escalate, and erupt into action in present-day classroom environments? And after the teachers, responsibility also lies with the management by the school board of directors who fail to see or anticipate the simmering conflicts.  A final question arises; namely, is there a general denial of the school’s responsibility when administrators fail to see the reality that the quality of teachers and the school’s management capabilities are deficient?

The issue of school violence needs to be paid more attention, especially in seemingly fine-grain details such as education that raises awareness of inner school conflicts, through subjects encompassing ethics and life skills. Focus should also be placed on localizing situations where negative tendencies are escalating the risk of becoming acts of school violence. The aim should then be to promptly address maladaptive behavior. Besides, the school also needs to engage in a process of reflection to create more resolute actions, to improve the cognitive ability, or situational awareness of the school environment combined with improvements in pedagogical ability with psychological consideration in child and adolescent development deemed a necessity for teachers and the school’s management responsibility for a wholistic education.  Only then can schools truly fulfill their educational role and curtail increasing incidences of school violence. The school cannot deny this responsibility!


Let’s learn more in the next articles. Don’t forget to follow and update more useful information on our website. If necessary, please contact us for more detailed instructions at info@letranlaw.com