“Seems like every other day, lately…..”

preventing school violenceLately, I’ve heard people talking about the stream of shootings on college campuses and in public places. Yes, it does seem like it happens frequently. Or, are we just becoming more aware of it? Probably, a little of both.

When I think about this, I feel outraged, saddened and sometimes helpless. Then, I remember what my work is all about. I know that there are some things we can control and some we can’t. When it comes to preventing school violence, we can control at least three things:

  1. We can create an environment that is welcoming and supportive to all who spend time in it. This means taking an honest and difficult look at the realities of our school climate, from the perspective of the students.
  2. We can learn about the warning signs of violence, suicide and other destructive behaviors and make sure our entire staff knows them.
  3. We can develop a process for identifying and assessing students, staff, parents and visitors that exhibit behaviors of concern, and follow up with intervention.

Of course, we’ll never be able to control or stop everything that the complexities of human behavior will bring our way. But we can ensure a safer environment for everyone in our schools by getting these three things right.