According to Thompson (2008), “Moral panic can be described as the intensity of feelings that are usually expressed within a population in regard to an issue that can be said to threaten the specified social order”. As such, moral panic arises whenever an episode, condition, a person or even a group of individuals emerge such that they become perceived as a threat to social interests as well as social values (Waddington, 2006).
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Increased security measures in schools are usually perceived as threats and thereby causing a moral panic among students. To the students’ point of view, imposition of stern security measures causes the students to live in compromising situations.
The stern security measures tend to elbow the self proclaimed freedom that comes with loosely held security measures. With this regard, imposition of stern security measures eats away the freedom of the students and therefore seen as a threat to the student’s social interests, that is, the sense of freedom (Waddington, 2006).
The stern security measures can also cause moral panic to the adults held responsible with regard to students. As such, the interests of these adults are to see their children, the students, grow and live within the moral scopes (Schneider, 2004). In any institution, strict security measures are set, the students become defiant and as such, their actions entail all sorts of evils towards showing disrespect to the set security measures.
This defiance is not within the intended moral scope and as such, they violate the interests of the adults (Ungar, 2000). From this perspective, the stern security measures can be said to be threats capable of causing a moral panic among the adults (Perrow, 2004).
The media can be said to influence the occurrence of moral panic among individuals. As such, the media is attributed as the major cause of crimes. This is because, usually, it inflicts negative effects with regard not only to behaviors but also to values as well as the attitudes of individuals. In reality, the media influence is largely on the youth but rarely to other groups. As such, the young are usually susceptible to every kind of influence.
One way that the media creates a moral panic is when it imitates a certain role in a deviant way. In addition to this, by lining up televising programs as well as films that entail violent or imagery largely attributable to sex. As such, it causes an arousal and this indeed can be considered as not only crime but also deviance and as such, this causes a moral panic. These kinds of situations warrant imposition of stern security measures in schools (Ungar, 2000).
Instead of implementing stern security measures in institutions, it is necessary that the administrative body establishes other effective ways such that moral panic is not aroused. As such, the administration can decide to offer guidance and counseling to the students and ensure follow up actions are made.
In addition to this, the institutions can invite iconic and authoritative figures within a society to guide the students on the right course of action. As such, these prominent figures may be a great wish to the students and this would follow that the students as well as their actions will entail an aspect of streamline, that is, they will adopt the desired moral standards (Perrow, 2004).
Perrow, C. (2004). Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies. New York: Basic Books.
Schneider, S. (2004). Detecting Climatic Change Signals: Are There Any “Fingerprints” Science, 63(5145): 341–725.
Thompson, K. (2008). Moral Panic. London: Routledge.
Ungar, S. (2000). Moral Panics, the Military Industrial Complex, and the Arms Race. Sociological Quarterly, 31(2): 165–85.
Waddington, P. A. J. (2006). Mugging as a Moral Panic: A Question of Proportion. British Journal of Sociology, 37(2): 245–59.