Recent events have schools across the country looking at how to prevent violence in their buildings. While the focus may be on guns being brought to school, it is not the only concern. What many have realized is we need to figure out what may be causing this angst and violence in teens. From here, school professionals will be able to work on ways to assist students and hopefully prevent violent acts in schools and beyond.
Federal Commission on School Safety
On June 21, 2018 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had meetings with the Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS). The purpose of the meeting was to look into more information on how entertainment, media, cyberbullying, and social media affect student safety. They wanted to see if they factor into more violence in schools. Three sessions were held: one on cyberbullying and social media, another on youth consumption of violent entertainment, and the last on the effects of press coverage on mass shootings.
What did not happen prior to the meetings was any talk on guns in schools. There was no mention of securing schools against attacks, or even gun violence specifically increasing in national schools. Many have noted that the lack of mentioning the ease at which students can obtain guns is another problem communities face.
Building Student Relationships
Schools meanwhile are holding forums where they are looking at violence prevention. Yes, they need to look at spending more money and time securing schools. Many older schools have open campuses which put them more at risk. Attention needs to be taken to see what can be done to secure them.
Simply locking doors and denying access to open areas is not the only solution. Many involved in school have said that more is needed. In addition to spending more money and time securing buildings, schools must make sure all students are cared for. This means forming relationships with every child to know when things are rough, if they are struggling, and how to get them the help they need.
To do this the right way, schools need to make sure they have more resources at hand. This means additional social workers, school psychologists, and nurses. When all of these professionals are available more relationships are formed. Students may have a go-to person who they trust and can talk to. These services ultimately may help to remedy things that could lead to violence, but also allow identifying concerns to alert others of a threat.
What has your school done to work on school safety, specifically stopping violent acts in school? Please share what has worked and anything that you may have done differently. All ideas are beneficial to assisting others who are still working on these plans in their buildings.