Preventing School Vandalism

Preventing School Vandalism

Did you know that the number one predictor of school vandalism is a lack of bonding and attachment to school and school staff? When students feel connected to their school community, they are far less likely to deface or destroy the physical space around them.

Preventing School Vandalism

Here are some creative ways to build connections and a sense of ownership in your school:

  • Create a “vandalism account.” To provide an incentive to students, schools can designate a specific dollar amount that would ordinarily be used for vandalism-related repairs. If the building remains clear of damage and graffiti, the funds can be used at the end of semester for something students desire such as a pizza party, field trip or dance (Idea courtesy of Center for Problem Oriented Policy, 2015).
  • Have all classrooms adopt a location in the school and maintain it regularly. For details and a free downloadable “Adopt a School Location” poster, visit Intervention Central.
  • Allow students to create artwork, murals and other welcoming spaces in the school to facilitate ownership and bonding.

Of course, a good deal of vandalism occurs after school hours, so you’ll want to be sure you also have adequate lighting, cameras, signage and controlled entry during the off-hours. Putting all of these practices in place will go a long way toward preventing school vandalism and promoting a more positive learning environment.

Why School Safety is My Focus

School Safety

During a recent school training presentation, a participant asked how I became involved with school safety and violence prevention. The answer was quite simple.

My entire career has focused on risk prevention. I’ve worked as a counselor, a district ATODA Coordinator, and a prevention consultant. I have always held fast to the belief that if we do the work on the front end, we will see reduced heartache and require fewer hours and dollars for intervention down the road.

Frederick Douglass believed this long ago. In 1855, he wrote,
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Why School Safety is My Focus

I believe in building assets for all children and teens. The Search Institute’s research has shown that the greater the number of assets we have, the less likely we are to engage in high-risk behavior.

I also believe that building assets results in decreased likelihood of engaging in behavior that puts others at risk. Gavin de Becker refers to these assets at inhibitors. The greater the number of inhibitors to violence that exist in someone’s life, the less likely they are to take violent action.

I attended Gavin de Becker’s Advanced Threat Assessment & Management Academy a few years ago, but my interest in learning how to prevent school violence started fifteen years ago when I heard Dr. Randy Borum speak. That day, I learned that there are things we can do to prevent violence. There are behaviors we can observe and actions we can take before things get to that point. From that moment on, I knew I had to do this work. Like the other types of prevention to which I had dedicated my career, violence could be prevented! It was an epiphany that changed the course of my career. Through student, staff and parent training, helping districts learn & develop threat assessment practices, and attending to all facets of school safety, I am dedicated to doing all I can to make the world safer, one school at a time.

If you have questions about how to improve your school’s safety, consider a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Simply contact me here.