Harvey Shapiro Northeastern University – Addressing the Troubling Menace of Shootings and Gun Violence in Schools

It is an unfortunate yet true fact that no nation is free from the extensive presence of school violence that ominously impacts every society. Gone are the days where schools were a safe zone to learn basic life skills- reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, if you look into the last few decades, multiple shockwaves associated with multiple school shootings have now posed the question- are schools safe for children? The answer is- there hangs a modern-day dark cloud of intense fear, especially when it comes to the excessive surge in gun violence and shootings in schools across the globe.


Keeping the above context in mind, noted educator and academician Harvey Shapiro had authored several publications and books on school violence, a subject dangerously prevalent across the world today. He is the Clinical Professor of Education at the College of Professional Studies at the Northeastern University, and his major fields of scholarship center around the interpretations of the diverse sorts of violence reigning in the educational systems today. He highlights the key philosophies of Giorgio Agamben, John Dewey, Jacques Derrida, and Hebrew Literature in most of his academic publications and work.


Harvey Shapiro Northeastern University academic interests revolve around politics, education, literary theory, Hebrew literature, and philosophy.  He graduated from The University of Minnesota at Minneapolis in history. Later, he went on to do his graduation work from the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Jewish education and the University of Southern California at Los Angeles in the USA.  From there, he attained a doctorate degree in Jewish education from the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion.


The evolution of gun-violence and mass shootings in schools


Controlling school violence does not solely lie on its authorities and teachers on the premise. Society, as a whole, has been accountable for its rise. For several generations, schools were places of safety. There were occasional bullying and random fist-fights; however, they never grew into such a grave issue as gun shooting today. The early ’90s saw the transition of gang violence among teens shifting to urban school hallways and corridors. The spike in gun-related school violence was so high that the US Congress had to pass significant legislation to establish schools in the nation as “gun-free” zones. Those that possessed a firearm in or near the school premises were subjected to heavy penalties.

In his book, Handbook on Violence in Education: Forms, Factors, and Preventions (Wiley: 2018), Harvey Shapiro Northeastern University writes about school violence extensively. He deals with sensitive subjects like bullying, victimization, and other factors that aggravate the issue. It is one that needs serious attention, and the role of parents, as well as teachers, play a vital part in curbing these incidents of violence on-premises. Moreover, school violence can have a serious psychological impact on children and, if not arrested, can cause long-term damage to their mental and physical well-being in life.