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Friday, March 6 • 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Preventing school violence: Comparing policies in Sweden (Gothenburg) and US (Oakland)

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Policies to prevent school violence in Sweden and in the United States are different, yet alike. In the US, school violence seems to be a growing problem but in Sweden it is decreasing. Not only have the US had substantially more school shootings; they have also implemented more preventive measures to combat school violence. This paper examines how school violence is handled in Sweden and the United States. The study is based on qualitative content analysis of educational steering documents and interviews with middle and high school principals. Both in Sweden and the US, a crime perspective (that students increasingly are subjected to zero tolerance policies that are used primarily to punish, repress and exclude them), dominates how violence are treated and handled in schools. In the US students are increasingly subjected to a “crime complex” where harsh disciplinary practices by security staff increasingly replace normative functions teachers once provided both in and outside of the classroom. One obvious difference between the two countries is the emergence of a great number of federal and state laws in the US, such as the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994. Schools in the US are also increasingly turning towards alternative methods like restorative justice as a mean for creating safer schools and social equity. One main point of the paper is also that the key to violence prevention might be found in a comparison of how normalized masculinity is operating in everyday dynamics, rather than differences in policies.

Friday March 6, 2015 3:45pm - 4:45pm PST