Will high levels of stress translate into high rates of violence?
As schools begin to reopen on either a full-scale or hybrid plan, there are questions about how students, who have been under unusual stress while learning from home, might react. Experts have concerns about the likelihood that stressors experienced while confined to home may exacerbate already existing mental health issues, anger, and behavioral concerns.
The 2019 US Secret Service Report on Targeted School Violence lists the top stressors experienced by students who have perpetrated violent attacks on their schools in the past. The graphic below is from the US Secret Service report, Protecting America’s Schools. You can access the full report here.
Many of these stressors could be seriously affecting our students at this time. All schools should have a plan in place to check in with students they already know are struggling as well as making sure all students know where to turn for help or to report concerns about a peer. This is all about prevention. We need to focus on identifying students who are struggling and intervene to help them before they ever get to the point of violence or suicide.
A second concern
Another concern I have about the potential increased risk of school violence upon returning to school, stems from the statistics below indicating the time of year prior attacks have taken place.
This graphic, from the US Secret Service report, Protecting America’s Schools shows that the highest number of school attacks have occurred during the months of return to school after a break. With the unprecedented break of being quarantined at home for months, we need to be extra vigilant and aware of what to look for in our students.
The resources Warning Signs of Violence and Warning Signs of Suicide can be helpful in increasing your staff’s awareness of these important topics. I encourage you to disseminate this information to all staff members and create a process for reporting concerns so you can act on them quickly and effectively.
Announcement & a quick favor
I’m putting together an updated online school safety training and want to make sure to include everything that would be most helpful to schools right now. Your feedback is extremely valuable and will help me get this right so it’s more useful to you. Please click on this link to complete a very brief survey letting me know your greatest needs. Thanks so much!