Cliques and Cults as a Contributor to Violence in the School Environment

  • Thomas W. Miller
  • Thomas F. Holcomb
  • Robert F. Kraus

School-aged children and adolescents seek various forms of social bonding experiences and the school setting provides the opportunity for such an experience. In the popular movie Mean Girls, the “Plastics” are the social pinnacle of the high school hierarchy, immortalized through the barrage of teen-themed movies focused on this issue. Clearly embedded in our social consciousness, there is a perceived hierarchy that is characterized by altered behavior and appearances that include designer purses, chemically altered appearances, and copious amounts of pink color. The theme projected in several of the movies on the subject is that Hollywood asserts that normal people hate cliques only because they just want to be included in them but are not. In the school environment, certainly some students convey a sense of superiority, but most do not seem to care depending on their age, current social ties, and sense of self. On the other hand, for some students cliques exist for security (Allen 1965). They are something to hold on to as both males and females venture beyond the comfort zone of childhood and family. They serve as a safety zone for students to feel like they belong to a group and have found in that group some level of acceptance. Cliques are often composed of similar types of students—they tend to think and behave alike. They find in others, similar likes and dislikes.


Personality Disorder School Environment School Violence Alcoholic Anonymous School Shooting 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas W. Miller
    • 1
  • Thomas F. Holcomb
    • 2
  • Robert F. Kraus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of KentuckyKentuckyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational StudiesMurray State UniversityUSA

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