In the wake of the tragic deadly shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio, we asked Laura Finley, editor of The Encyclopedia of School Crime and Violence, about the topic of her very informative new book.
Q: What prompted you to work on The Encyclopedia of School Crime and Violence?
I was a high school teacher during the Columbine era. I was deeply affected not just by the incidents, but by the ways schools and the general public responded to the incidents and to the concern about future incidents.
Q: What "message" do you want to communicate?
I wanted to help people understand the complexities of school violence--that it takes many forms and can be explained by numerous theories, for instance. I also wanted to stress that there are a variety of prevention programs and responses to school violence that are very effective yet may be underutilized.
Q: What was the highlight of your research?
I found it most interesting to examine the theoretical explanations for school violence, as identifying why it happens allows us to not only respond more appropriately, but to craft effective prevention programs.
Q: What surprises readers/others the most about your research?
I think the entries on systemic violence are interesting and may surprise some, as we have been taught to see school violence largely as a problem of individual students perpetrating against their teachers or classmates. Those incidents are surely horrific, as was the incident in Ohio yesterday, but it should prompt us to examine the other ways our schools create a climate in which violence is allowed to continue in numerous forms.
Q: How did your research change your outlook on the subject?
Researching the material for this book helped me understand more about some specific topics, including the link between prescription drugs and school violence.
Q: What's next for you?
I am currently working on editing the Encyclopedia of Domestic Abuse. Another co-edited work that address President Obama as a progressive is complete and will be released in April.
Dr. Laura L. Finley is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Barry University. Dr. Finley is the author or coauthor of eight books. She has also authored numerous book chapters and journal articles. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Finley is a community peace activist, with active involvement in local, national, and international groups. She regularly presents on topics related to peace and social justice and is a domestic and dating violence trainer. In addition, Dr. Finley is co-chair of the South Florida Diversity Alliance and is on the Board of Directors of No More Tears, a nonprofit organization that provides individualized assistance to victims of domestic violence and their children. Dr. Finley is also a member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Encyclopedia of School Crime and Violence:
"Encompassing high schools to college campuses, the set reviews significant cases, including professional and community responses to various incidents along with theories about why the event(s) happened… an excellent resource on a troubling problem in the education field … Recommended." - Choice