Emotions will either serve or master, depending on who is in charge. –Jim Rohn
Anger is an issue I see as one of the biggest problems facing the students. Just last year I saw 3 different students who had overcome so many difficulties and challenges in their life start to really do well in school and get excited about learning, only to lose control of their tempers and get expelled for fighting. When you stop to consider how many of the hundreds of referrals processed every year come from students who let anger take control of their thinking, it becomes obvious that anger is an underlying cause of a lot of the behavior problems students have.
A lot of the anger is misdirected – so many students have issues and problems they can’t control or fix because they come out of a severely dysfunctional home or world – and they have nowhere else they are safe enough to let out that anger than at school. It is an irony – we provide a safe place for them and so they feel secure enough to lose control knowing that no real harm will come to them when they do so. I doubt many of our students even recognize it – but it is a strange truth. Schools, by their very nature, create an environment where some of our students end up saying or doing terrible things because all the hurt, pain, frustration and rage they can’t express anywhere else safely can finally explode out of them at school. This is because, on some level at least, they know that the teacher’s care about them, that no one is going to emotionally or physically abuse them for feeling this way, and because most of the consequences they will face are consequences they are comfortable with.
Kids carrying around deep emotional wounds and terrible, bottled-up anger are looking, consciously or unconsciously, for adults and environments they can trust enough to release some of those pent-up energies. They have to know that when this happens, their life won’t be in danger, or that they won’t be subjected to the kind of emotional or physical abuse they would get at home, but at the same time, they want to know that the school won’t let them get away with it. They want the security of a structure that says “you can’t act like that here” because then they know the school cares enough about them to make them act right and also that the school won’t let anybody else act like that to them. It is a safe place.
So yeah, students with anger issues are really, really complicated and conflicted.
The role of the school in this situation needs to be more proactive than reactive. We can’t tolerate dangerous or disruptive behaviors, to be sure, but can we teach students how to deal with anger in a manner that is healthy and addresses their issues? Can we create not only an environment where kids feel safe to be angry, but also safe enough to learn how to use anger to help them instead of hurt them?
Below are website links about anger and anger management.