How Teachers Can Help End School Violence
We are only a few short weeks into the 2015-2016 school year and already there have been a number of reports of school violence. As parents, teachers, and school administrators, it is up to us to protect these children and ensure a safe learning environment. But how?
“It takes a whole community to prevent school violence. But I assure you, it is preventable,” said Kristina Anderson, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007. “We have to teach our students, our faculty what the signs are.”
What Anderson is talking about is Threat Assessment.
“For parents, school staff, and policymakers to effectively address school crime, they need an accurate understanding of the extent, nature, and context of the problem,” said the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice report.
Threat Assessment is How Teachers and Parents Can Help End School Violence
Threat assessment is a proactive method designed to teach parents, teachers, and school administrators how to recognize the warning signs of school violence, and what to do in the event that a potential risk arises.
“The more intervention you have the more chance there is of maybe getting to the root causes early enough so that we can head this off,” said Sal Pascarella, president of the Connecticut Association of Public Schools Superintendents.
Threat assessment is based on facts not just characteristics, traits, or assumptions. These concrete facts, these warning signs include:
- The Spoken Word: Most students who carry out these attacks talk with others about their ideas and intentions. In a 2002 federal study of 30 school shootings, the attacker told at least one other person about the plan ahead of time in 80 percent of the cases.
- The Written Word: Most students who carry out these attacks record their thoughts in journals, diaries, and even online sources, such as social media, blogs, etc. “I think they [students] want to get in touch with us,” explained Dr. Frank Robertz, co-founder of the Institute for Violence Prevention and Applied Criminology in Berlin. “Such communications should not be ignored.”
- Weapons: Most students who carry out these attacks seek out weapons and practice with these weapons. According to James McBride, retired chief of the Lakeland Community College Police Department and co-author of K-PhD School and Campus Shooting Awareness, most school shootings are carried out with handguns
“In most cases, these folks have been time bombs who have been ignored for a long time,” said McBride.
Threat Assessment Can Help
Unfortunately, we live in a society where we have witnessed tragic events of meaningless violence unfold in our schools and communities. Too often, we ask ourselves how these events could have been avoided. Threat assessment is the answer.
Defender LLC is a privately operated, woman-owned business that proudly employs veterans of the U.S. Military to provide schools the best in threat assessment training. Our system is called OA2, which stands for Observe, Assess, and Act. It’s a one-day training that is offered to all teachers and staff and whoever else they wish to involve, and the ultimate goal is to help our children as best we can before we have to involve other methods.
If you have any questions about Threat Assessment Training, please contact Defender, L.L.C. by calling 410-381-8003. We believe a proactive approach to be the best tool in the fight against school violence.