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Tony Gibson's Theory of School Violence

Hamilton Bertie "Tony" Gibson (1914-2001) was a British anarchist, conscientious objector (for which he was imprisoned) and psychologist. Gibson wrote Youth for Freedom (1951), a provocative pamphlet. From this work, we may extract a theory that explains school violence, which is a worldwide phenomenon and not uniquely American. Being worldwide, youth violence cannot be explained by the means of violence used, be they guns, clubs, knives, rocks, spears, fire, or whatever. The theory can be partly stated as follows. Children have certain behaviors that come naturally to them, instinctively one might say. If they are allowed to have a childhood that lets them vent and live through these instincts, they will develop into adults who are not unusually aggressive. But if adults make the child live in ways that go too much against these natural instincts, then the child retains its asocial and ferocious instincts into adult life, rather than living through them as a childhood stage of deve

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