Stop School Violence in Its Tracks: Recognizing a Student’s Cries for Help

School Violence Cries for Help

The good news: there is a way to stop school violence before it happens.

Our schools should be a safe haven for our nation’s youth. Unfortunately, this is not the case nowadays. According to a joint-report by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice, “Overall, more students experienced incidents of theft and violence at school than away from school.”

  • There have been 74 school shootings since the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • In 2012 alone, students ages 12–18 experienced roughly 1,364,900 nonfatal victimizations at school (615,600 thefts, 749,200 violent victimizations, and 89,000 serious violent victimizations), according to the aforementioned report.
  • In 2013, 6.9% of students in grades 9-12 reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, and 7.2% admitted to skipping school because they felt unsafe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The good news: there is a way to stop school violence before it happens.

“I think they [students] want to get in touch with us,” added Dr. Frank Robertz, , co-founder of the Institute for Violence Prevention and Applied Criminology in Berlin. “They send us signals along the way.”

The bad news: our schools are just not equipped to handle such situations. The current ratio of school counselors to students is 1:471, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This is a far cry from the recommended ratio of 1:250. As a result, warning signs – cries for help – go unnoticed.

“Such communications should not be ignored,” said Dr. Robertz.

The solution: threat assessment training, a proactive method used to evaluate the risk posed by a student to help stop targeted school violence before it happens.

“School personnel, parents and peers alike need to be alert for verbal, written and other signs that an adolescent is becoming engulfed in a destructive fantasy world,” advised Dr. Robertz.

Threat assessment is based on the belief that most incidents of targeted violence are premeditated and that there are warning signs. And with the proper training, school officials, teachers, and parents can learn how to recognize these warning signs and properly deal with potential threatening situations.

“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 Training: Stop School Violence in Its Tracks

Defender, L.L.C. trains educators, school staffs and communities in identifying behaviors in the student body that may be of a concerning nature. We do this using Defender, L.L.C.’s  OA2 ™ training program focused on positive behavioral interventions and behavioral assessments. This program will help to identify issues that arise during the course of students’ lives and teach techniques to assist in a positive and proactive manner.

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If you have any questions about Threat Assessment Training or How to Stop School Violence before it happens, please contact Defender, L.L.C. by calling 410-381-8003 or fill out our Contact Form. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, put us in your Google+ circle, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more great information.

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