It’s Time for a Plan

School Safety Plan

It’s time for a plana safety plan. Do you have one in place? Does it need to be tested, reviewed and updated?

Safety plans should be reviewed annually and updated every three years, at a minimum. Drills and tabletop exercises can point to areas that may need to be tweaked. What sounds good on paper doesn’t always play out that way in reality. Better to find out now that your protocols need adjusting, than during an actual emergency.

If you have decided that it’s time for an updated school safety plan:

There are many resources to help you. Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) provides a wealth of resources to get you started. This past summer, I attended the REMS training of trainers along with several facilitators from the Wisconsin Safe & Healthy Schools Center. Any of us can work with you to help you test and improve your safety plan.

September is National Preparedness Month and school is now underway. What better time to make your school safety plan the best it can be?

Two Types of Violence in Schools

Two types of violence in schools

There are two types of violence in schools: impulsive and targeted. But, only one of them typically ends up on the evening news.

Targeted violence is premeditated and planned over a period of time. Because of the planning and preparation that precede it, this type of violence is considered to be predatory in nature. This is the one that stops us in our tracks when we see it on the news.

Impulsive violence is reactive and may seem to come out of nowhere, or it can be a nearly predictable result of ongoing conflict.

Differences between the two types of violence:

A pioneering study found distinct differences between impulsive and predatory violence, when that violence results in death. Here are some of the findings that can help increase our own awareness:

  • Compared to impulsive murderers, predatory/premeditated murderers are nearly twice as likely to have a history of mood disorders or psychotic disorders — 61 percent versus 34 percent.
  • Compared to predatory/premeditated murderers, impulsive murderers are more likely to be developmentally disabled and have cognitive and intellectual impairments — 59 percent versus 36 percent.
  • Over 90% of the impulsive murderers in this study had a history of alcohol or drug abuse and/or were intoxicated at the time of the crime — 93 percent versus 76 percent of those whose crimes were premeditated.

In schools, we need to be alert for both types of violence. We must pay attention to individuals and specific actions. Only then can we dig deep enough to assess a person’s mindset, coping skills, stressors, and intent to harm others so we can contain and manage the situation before violence takes place. To learn more about this process, see this.

For more on preventing targeted school violence, click here.

Youth Risk Prevention Specialists is Relocating!

Youth Risk Prevention Specialists Albuquerque

Youth Risk Prevention Specialists is relocating to Albuquerque, NM. I lived and worked in New Mexico a number of years ago and look forward to returning. Yet, it will not be easy to leave the amazing friends and colleagues who have enriched my life in Wisconsin.

Please know that I will continue working with schools nationwide to help them become safer havens for students, staff and parents.

For those of you in Wisconsin, I will be here until the end of October, so if you have been considering a staff safety trainingviolence threat assessment training, parent presentation or other Youth Risk Prevention Specialists service, now is the time! Of course, I would be happy to work with you in the future as well, but you can save on travel expenses by scheduling something in the next two months.

It has been a true pleasure to work with all of you and I look forward to our continued professional relationship.


Domestic Violence Goes to School

Domestic violence goes to school

Have you considered the impact of domestic violence on your school?

While school violence is actually quite rare, we need to give some thought to all of the hazards that could affect our schools.

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 know it. An especially high-risk time for a domestic abuse victim and those around him or her is before, during, and after either a restraining order has been issued or a relationship break-up has occurred. When it comes to mass shootings, domestic violence makes up the most common scenario in our country today.

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.

Minimizing the impact of domestic violence on your school

Encourage your staff members to use your Employee Assistance Program and 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 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 discuss your concerns with the employee and your threat assessment team or law enforcement. You must act to protect not only the victim of domestic violence, but others in your workplace as well.

If you have a situation that concerns you and you’d like to talk it through, consider a 1-to-1 Consultation or a Threat Assessment Consultation to do just that.