When the news fills up with stories of violence in our schools, it is natural for anyone whether they are a student or not to have concerns about whether they are safe. It seems the violence can escalate in any school and no city or town is immune. It is a normal reaction to have feelings of sadness or anxiousness when these types of tragedies happen. We all just want to make sense of it.
According to statistics it is much safer to be at school than in your car. Twice as many people from the ages from 15 to 19 years of age die in car accidents rather than shootings annually. (This number includes all types of shootings, and not just the ones that occur in a school setting.) The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that less than 1% of school-age homicides actually happen on school grounds. Overall, the majority of students in school won’t be affected by violence in school.
When it comes to safety, some schools have taken the time to reevaluate the needs of the families and the communities. Some schools have added guards to stand on duty, others have added a checkpoint requirement in the office for any guest entering the school. Others have installed metal detectors.
Additional resources for safety in schools is an increased awareness of problems such as discrimination and bullying. There are many programs being set in to motion that help to overcome these problems and to aide teachers and administrators in knowing more about protecting the students and teachers from these kinds of behaviors.
Violence in schools is not something that is easy to understand. There is not a clear and definitive reason for why certain students become violent while others do not. Some young people emulate behaviors they see in the home, in video games, movies, on television, or in public. Sometimes it is those who are teased and bullied relentlessly who become the aggressors because their minds have hit a limit and they just want the bullying to stop. They tend to feel rejected and isolated from their peers.
Before you can solve any problem, first you have to recognize that there is a problem in the first place. Many times, someone who is about to complete a violent act will show a variety of warning signs. These signs include:
In addition to being made aware of behavioral warning signs, if you begin to feel unsafe you need to seek out an adult you trust and talk to them. Reporting violence can be difficult, however most of the time people are taught not to talk about it and to ignore it. You have to break the cycle. Many have anonymous ways to report violence or bullying.