School is back in session and along with academics, school safety is on the minds of many. While school violence is still quite rare, we hear about it happening more often than we’d like these days. Preventing violence in the first place is paramount, and while we may have our crisis and safety plans in order, we need to give some thought to all of the hazards that can come our way.
Don’t forget about this hazard
It’s not unusual to forget about some of the most common threats to student and staff safety. Have you considered the impact of domestic violence on your school?
A school is a workplace, and domestic violence finds its way into the workplace on a regular basis. You may have an employee who is a victim of domestic violence and you might not even know it. An especially high-risk time for that person, and for those around him or her, is before, during, and after a relationship break-up. Even if the person has moved out of the home to a safe-house or other location, the abuser knows that he or she will likely continue to report to work.
Encourage your staff members to use your Employee Assistance Program and to seek out other sources of support. Be alert to signs of stress, agitation, worry, increased absences and deterioration of work performance. While an employee may not want to disclose much information in such circumstances and is likely to underestimate or downplay the seriousness of the situation, it’s important to let him/her know of your concern and availability. If you have reason to believe the person is in danger, you will need to intervene and discuss your concerns with the employee and your threat assessment team or law enforcement. You must act to protect not only the victim, but others in your workplace as well.