Violence in Schools....

Gender Equity, January 2000, Volume VIII, Number 2, pg.3

Every campus is susceptible to violence, but if educators and families work together to recognize early warning signs, tragedy can be prevented or at least minimized. Educators need to be able to protect students and schools from violence. To do this, interact regularly with students and other teachers; be aware of any grievances or concerns that might be circulating, then warning signs are less likely to be ignored. Avoid the mentality of "it will never happen here." The more parents, teachers, and students know about school violence, the more can be done to avoid it. Educators and families must be aware of the warning signs in order to cooperate in providing a safe learning environment for all students. People that exhibit aggression at school may not necessarily exhibit the same aggression at home, and vice versa. Parents need to support school-sponsored programs; this active involvement shows students the working relationship between parents and school faculty.

There are certain questions we must be able to answer to insure school safety.

  • Have I offended a student or coworker or not been sensitive to the needs of those people?
  • Has there been talk of a student planning violent attacks?
  • Do we have people trained in trauma-first aid?
  • Do I have a plan in case a violent situation occurs?
  • Does my school have high levels of security and protection services (like surveillance cameras or phone systems, uniformed security, and access to local law enforcement)?

Possible Warning Signs Of A Violent Youth:

  • Ha a history of tantrums or uncontrolled angry outbursts.
  • Makes violent threats when angry
  • Has a background of substance abuse.
  • Has little or no supervision/support from a parent or caring adult and resents authority.
  • Blames others for problems, difficulties, or mistakes that they cause themselves.
  • Enjoys violent themes in music, movies, video games, TV programs, or reading.
  • Isolates at school, home, or other social settings.
  • Has talked about, threatened, or attempted suicide.

What Caring Adults Can Do:

  • Spend time building a strong relationship with your children !!!
  • Know who your children's friends are.
  • Get acquainted with the parents of your child's friends.
  • Pay attention to their activities and interests.
  • Provide children with information about constructive ways to deal with anger.
  • Take a parenting class, it will offer some helpful tips.
  • Attend a school violence awareness class.
  • Talk over concerns or problems they may have at school.

What To Do When Confronted By A Person With A Weapon:

  • Stay calm: do not try to disarm them.
  • Buy time: time is an asset.
  • Negotiate: keep the situation positive, encourage the person to talk. The more they talk, the less likely they are to use the weapon. Positive dialogue also fuels rational thinking.
  • Step Back but Keep Facing Them: negotiate from a few steps away; distance is your friend - it reduces anxiety and accuracy of a weapon.

The best thing to do in a violent situation is to leave. If you hear gun shots, determine what direction they are coming from so you can avoid running towards the shooter.