Violence in school negatively affects learning
Consider first the evidence of the harmful effects of violence in schools. Two years ago, an investment case to end violence in schools was published by the World Bank and the Safe to Learn Initiative (see also the action-oriented summary).
The argument was simple. For education to be transformative, learning is needed, yet less likely to happen if a child experiences fear or trauma in school. Violence in schools affects learning negatively and leads some children to drop out of school.
In addition, being the victim of violence in school has a wide range of other negative effects, including for health (not sleeping well, headaches, injuries from corporal punishment, and poor mental health), engaging in risky behaviors (using drugs and alcohol or having sex at a younger age), and even considering suicide.
For virtually all education and health variables for which data were available in school health surveys, violence was associated with negative outcomes in a statistically significant way.
Individuals and societies are paying a heavy price as a result with an estimate of $11 trillion in lost lifetime earnings globally (just including impacts on schooling and learning, not additional impacts on health, including mental health).
Cost-benefit analyses suggest that interventions to prevent violence in schools are a smart economic investment.
The benefits of investing in preventing violence in and through schools are likely to far outweigh the costs, and beyond the issue of violence in schools, the education system is in effect a great entry point to prevent violence more broadly.