As we watch the news and hear of school violence taking place across the country, many of us have wondered, “can school violence be prevented?”
I know this is a busy time of year for educators, and while I hate to add something to your workload, this is really important.
We may not be able to prevent every act of school violence, but being informed and having the right practices in place can go a long way toward preventing the unthinkable.
If your staff hasn’t had training in the warning signs of suicide and violence in over a year, it’s time to revisit that training. To make this easier for you, I’ve created free handouts on the warning signs of suicide and the warning signs of violence. Simply download them here.
If you would prefer a more in-depth training, check out the online video course Everyday School Safety. It contains an extensive section on the warning signs of violence and the importance of setting up a threat assessment team. If you are just starting the process of setting up your team, I can help by providing training and consultation to get you started. I’ve spent the past decade training schools across the country to develop and mobilize their teams.
It’s also critical to train your students to report any concerns they may have. They are much more tuned in to what their peers are saying than we may be…and they have reasons for holding back. These lesson plans address and validate the reasons students are reluctant to report, and provide ways for them to safely do so.
If you haven’t already read this CNN article on leakage and warning signs, please do so, and feel free to pass it on to your staff. It’s a good, comprehensive overview of what we’ve been saying in the threat assessment world for over 20 years, but much of it is still not common practice. I think we’ve all learned by now that we need to shift our focus to preventing school violence in addition to responding to it. This information should help.
NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) has just released new guidance on behavioral threat assessment and it’s well worth a few minutes of your time to read it. You’ll find it, along with other helpful documents, in the Related Resources column on the right.
Finally, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am sitting here watching the news on school shooting after school shooting, and I have the knowledge, background and experience to help. All you need to do is contact me.
Have a restful and restorative winter break!