Expert says previous isolation could be contributing to rise in violence among youth

Lately, there’s been no shortage of school violence in the news.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

Seven students were criminally charged Wednesday after a fight that police said involved a knife at Annapolis High School. Then Thursday, FOX 5 ran a report about Montgomery County students posting fights online.

"I’m sick and tired of all the fights. It’s gotta stop," one teacher could be heard yelling in one of the videos.

Dr. Amy Klinger said she’s not surprised.

"We have consistently seen this increase," she noted.

Klinger is the director of programs for the Educator’s School Safety Network, which released a report showing an increase in violent threats and incidents nationwide during the 2018-2019 school year. 

Since then, Klinger explained that fresh data is hard to come by, largely because of schools going virtual during the pandemic, but with many children now back in the classroom, she added, "anecdotally, we’ve seen a real increase."

The pandemic – as well as other factors – may be a key to understanding why.

MORE FROM FOX 5: School fights promoted online raise concerns in Montgomery County

"Do you think that 18 months of isolation, no support, no mental health services, and high levels of stress and chaos are gonna make those people better or worse? Clearly, they’re going to make those people more likely to commit violence," Klinger said.

As for what to do about the problem, there’s no one single answer, but Klinger believes above all else, schools should invest in their people.

"We have spent a lot of time doing active shooter training in schools," she said, "but an active shooter is less than 6 percent of all events. so it’s very scary for us that 94 percent of the events that schools are gonna have are things most schools haven’t trained for."

The Educator’s School Safety Network has a free online safety course available to anyone who’s interested. To learn more, you can click here.