Social Issues faced by Students in School: 14 Frightening Issues!
Social problems occupy a major portion of students life in schools. Some interesting social issues faced by students in school are as follows:
- Bullying (including cyberbullying)
- Drugs and substance abuse
- Poverty and homelessness
- Child abuse
- Teen pregnancy
- Expectations from parents and teachers
- Identity crisis of adolescence
- LGBT (LesbianGayBiSexual) rights
In this article, we’ll discuss all these social issues in detail. This will provide parents, teachers and even students a detailed analysis of how they can perform their respective roles in dealing with these issues!
Why social factors are important for students in school?
The overall development of a child involves a lot of factors and structures. Urie Bronfenbrenner – An American psychologist talked about five different systems that revolve around a child’s development. School life comes within the primary system. Parents, teachers, peers and other immediate relationships also come within this system. Thus the importance of these elements/factors prove to be most important in developing the personality and life of every child.
When in school, students have to deal with many social issues. All the social issues faced by students in school are equally important. This is because they play their pivotal roles in the life of each student. Let us discuss these issues one by one!
1. Bullying (including cyberbullying)
The first thing that comes to mind from the word “school” is a safe environment. A school is a place where children grow in different aspects. However, this is not the complete picture. Bullying is a very common thing in a vast majority of schools these days.
Some people see bullying as kids being kids. However, this is not at all a trivial matter. It should never be overlooked. Bullying is simply a form of aggression that is repeated over and over again. Common aggression is different from bullying. Common aggression occurs seldom and among children of same strength. But bullying is completely different – with one party being bullied and the weak.
Bullying usually starts in later years of school and extends till adolescent years. Most of the times, the bullying incidents do not occur within classes. Instead, they occur at casual places like cafeterias, hallways, washrooms, etc. Cyberbullying has aroused as a new form of bullying. In cyberbullying, bullies use social media platforms and other technology-related options to bully.
Teachers need to play highly active roles against school bullying. Law makers and officials must also step forward to take immediate actions, especially against cyberbullying. Parents should also remain aware of any changes that the child may exhibit. Always remember that bullying is among the most common social issues faced by students in school!
2. Drugs and substance abuse
A wide variety of drugs come under the umbrella of substance abuse among the adolescents. Smoking, alcohol, narcotics, prescriptive drugs, sedatives and diet pills are some of the major examples. Even inhalants like paints, petrol and markers come within this category.
Students get easily influenced by the media and follow the hypes of drugs. Similarly, peer pressure also leads towards substance abuse and drug consumption. If a parent or any other family member is an addict, the chances for the child also increases. Sometimes, students start drug abuse to relieve academic or general life stress. Eventually, they become regular addicts.
Teachers need to keep a sharp eye on all the students. They also need to identify the cues that point towards potential substance abuse. Students who engage in violence tend to be addicts as well. Work with parents and school counselors for treating such students!
Racism is a social issue that is present in almost every walk of life. Even adults are not safe from this aspect. It has become quite common to attach specific societal values to different races. Minority races follow a disadvantageous path in this regard. Sometimes even the basic rights are not given to them at all.
Same goes for the school settings! Students of minority races are almost always bullied. They cannot participate in many of the school activities. A general atmosphere of hatred and prejudice prevails against them. Teachers play a critical role in such cases. Firstly, they can encourage an overall equality in school premises. Secondly, they can work with individual students to sort out any problems.
Last but not the least, parents play the most crucial role. Children learn from their parents first of all. Therefore, if parents are racists, children will also behave similarly. Hence, parents need to change their approaches towards racism. Only then will the children change.
4. Poverty and homelessness
Poverty and homelessness are two major social issues faced by students in school. Poor students lack in quality food, quality sleep, quality medical facilities and other basic life necessities as well. As a result, they barely pay much attention towards their academics. Similarly, such students cannot pay for trips and other activities.
Just as poverty, homelessness also creates additional burden on the parents of the students. Since their finances are spent on rents and other things, they cannot provide for the academic expenses of their children. Resultantly, the students feel inferior to their peers. The government, community workers and teachers need to play their perspective roles in helping such students.
Just as with racism, immigration is also a disturbing aspect for students. Most of the times, the immigrant students are not welcomed wholeheartedly. Local students discriminate against them. They do not make friends with them. In simple words, immigrant students feel alone.
Again teachers and parents need to play active roles in changing the mindsets of local students. Parents of immigrant students also need to be actively involved in the school life of their children. This is especially important in the beginning of the school for new students.
Gangs is a common term in school these days. Some students have similar mindsets and tendencies. They group together and form gangs. Things remain fine as long as these gangs work positively. However, when the gangs involve in vandalism things get troublesome.
School vandalism involves activities that damage the property of the school. Sometimes, it goes further and puts other students in danger as well. For example, gangs work together and write in books of other students. They also damage or write on the desks of other students. Even in the most advanced and developed countries of the world, school vandalism exists.
School vandalism is a very serious social issue. Parents, teachers, counselors, school psychologists and community workers need to work together to overcome this issue. Identify the problems of the students and then offer solutions to them. Parents need to keep a close eye on the friends and peers of their children.
7. Child abuse
What is going on in the family life of a student always affects the school life! A child who faces abuse in the house no longer remains a strong individual. Child abuse is quite common. It takes the form of verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and others as well. Things get worse when parents do not work willingly with the teachers to help the students.
Different causes lead to the eventual act of suicide by the students. They can be academic as well as non-academic. Sometimes, the bullying becomes so aggressive and uncontrollable that the victim commits suicide. At other times, the academic results are so worse that the student opt for suicide.
There are different warning signs that need to be kept under consideration. These signs help in identifying students who have suicidal tendencies:
- Expressing aggressive and violent behavior.
- Increased interest in talking about death and dying.
- Substance abuse.
- Sudden and inconsistent mood changes.
- Very low academic performance.
- Increased engagement in risky behaviors.
- Withdrawal symptoms.
All in all, there can be different reasons for students to commit suicide in school life. There is urgent need to identify students who may appear to be potentially at the verge of such outcomes. Both parents and teachers need to play their consecutive roles in this regard.
Dropout represents one of the most common social issues faced by students in school. There are countless students who leave their studies midway. Sometimes students face financial problems while at other times their parents may become the reason for dropout. In fact, dysfunctional families lie at the core of school dropouts in a vast majority of cases.
Due to incomplete education, such students face difficulties in their practical lives as well. They do not have many employment options. Their overall personal and social lives are harmed as well. As a result, they usually suffer a lot throughout their lives.
10. Teen pregnancy
The words “romance” and “sex” seem to be very attractive during the adolescence stage of human life. The interest in the opposite gender is also very ideal during these years. On top of that, students usually do not have any factual knowledge related to sex and pregnancy. Parents seldom talk with their adolescents on such topics. Additionally, the media (both print and electronic) bombards sex- related images and videos on the immature minds of adolescents.
All these lead to unplanned and sudden pregnancies during the teenage group of the population. Teen mothers form the group that suffers the most. They cannot complete their studies mostly. Dropout is the only option left for them. Incomplete education further leads to societal and financial issues for them. The cases become worse if they have to care for their babies as well.
It is crucial that proper introduction and age-appropriate information about sex and pregnancy should be given to students. Sex is a natural phenomenon. It should not be made taboo to talk about it. Parents need to understand their adolescents. In this way, they won’t be affected by the outsiders’ information. Teachers should also work with counselors. Workshops or discussions on this topic are also a must.
11. Expectations from parents and teachers
Parents and teachers always develop certain expectations from the students. In fact, when students set some targets and goals then their achievement motivation is also increased. However, unrealistic expectations make things worse. Parents want their children to accomplish what they couldn’t. Sometimes the parenting styles tend to be difficult for the adolescents. This is totally wrong direction.
Similarly, teachers wish to attain maximum outputs from each and every student. Some students can meet those goals, but not everyone. This is what teachers should remain aware of. It is important that teachers and parents discuss things with students from time to time. A clear communication is the best way to focus on realistic goals.
12. Identity crises of adolescence
According to the stages of psychosocial development given by Erik Erikson, adolescence is the developmental stage where identity crisis occurs. Adolescents have to develop their own personal identity within the society. They need answer for the question; “Who am I?” Adolescents explore different possibilities and see what is good for them.
If this stage is resolved smoothly, adolescents develop an identity for them. However, if unresolved, this stage ends up in role confusion or identity crisis. This is something that affects the entire upcoming life of the student. Parents and teachers need to support the adolescents during this stage. Forcing their ideal identities on the students lead to difficulties for them. Therefore, it is important to let the students follow their chosen path with proper guidance.
The world has now become a global village. People from different ethnic and religious backgrounds work and communicate with each other on regular basis. Education sector also welcomes students from different religions. Resultantly, you can see students following different religions in a single class.
As long as everyone respects and accepts each other’s religious orientations, things go on smoothly. However, sometimes certain religions are not welcomed by the students and even teachers. This creates a lot of social pressure on the respective students. Bullying, dropouts and other societal factors make things even worse.
14. LGBT (LesbianGayBiSexual) rights
21st century has witnessed a lot of dramatic changes in different aspects of human life. Sexual orientation is also one of such drastic changes. Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals are quite common words in different parts of the world these days. Students who follow any such unique sexual orientation tend to feel endangered. Therefore, they indulge in asking for their basic human rights.
This can create problems in the academic performance of the students as well. It is the duty of the government and school authorities to overcome such issues of the students on immediate basis.
All in all, there are different social issues faced by students in school life. If we want to have our children’s future secure, we (as parents or teachers) need to play our respective roles. This is the only way in which we can help our children. This will also benefit the society as a whole.
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