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School Violence Prevention – Attitudes

27 Jul

This is one post that many people, especially administration and parents, don’t want to read. Or if they do, they will merely say to anyone who will listen I/we don’t do those things. Unfortunately, those are the people that probably are the worst offenders and are courting a blood-spattered public relations nightmare worthy of any of the slasher movies of the 80s within the school.

People who have the attitude of It Can’t Happen Here?

Administration

The administration of any educational institution, from public, private, & for profit, all are duplicitous in denying the below listed attitudes and the fact that school violence could happen. From secretaries in the office all the way through the school board & superintendent or President.

They simply never even think about what could happen because they are so wrapped up in their own little horrible lives. I have heard, several times, that the school has a plan so let the risk manager, security or whoever, worry about that crap. We have a school to run.”

Parents

Some of the biggest offenders are the parents. The reasoning behind that statement that no doubt incites thoughts of Molotov cocktails through windows and over turning vehicles. Who knows their kids better than a parent, supposedly? Parents are the ones that are tasked with knowing their kids and raising solid first class citizens. But far too many times, the parents ignored both the warning signs & attitudes.

“They are my little angel! They’d never do anything like that! He’s such a good boy! He’s a little troubled but nothing violent… Just because he plays shootem up’s, listens to that violent rap stuff, and loves those R rated gory movies…”

But without further ado:

  • CHH (can’t happen here) or Ostrich syndrome. The biggest attitude that causes violence. From the differing reporting systems that say that a fist fight is not violence to teasing a younger/smaller student isn’t bullying.
  • NIH (not invented here). This basically means that the school refuses to do something that they themselves haven’t thought of. Or because it’s too “far out-of-the-box”. Or worse, someone might get into trouble and get disciplined or fired.
  • Communication. How well does the school communicate with the parents and students? An incident in June 2016 where a student threatened to shoot up a school, Greenbelt, Md. June 14, wasn’t reported to parents until 4 days later. Why, “Because it wasn’t a credible threat…at the time”
  • Unequal enforcement of policies/procedures. Some kids deserve to be treated differently and be given special privileges. In my high school years it was the athletes, smart kids, cheerleaders/pep squad, & etc. along with their significant other of the second, and I’m sure it hasn’t changed that much. But it has to be tempered so that they don’t appear to be teachers/administration’s pet.
  • Perceived unequal treatment. The key word in here is perceived. Whatever someone perceives to be true then it will be true, whether that truth is reality or not.
  • Authoritarian style of administration- it needs to be strict, but flexible. There is always a reason for someone doing what they do. If you utilize a zero tolerance policy on everything then you potentially will instigate the violence you thought you could stop. You should toss out the zero tolerance policies, because they cause more trouble than they are worth.
  • Stereotyping. We all stereotype people and kids are the worst at bullying, teasing, & ignoring those who are slightly different than what is considered normal in school.

Those are for the kids, teachers, & administration, but what about the parents? There are several ways that parental attitudes can get into the violence act as well. And most parents will never realize it, mainly because of having CHH:

  • Not My lil angel
  • Helicopter parenting – They don’t let the kids fail and learn. You can’t protect those lil angels their entire life. Worry about and offer advice when needed but protect…
  • Denial of a problem, akin to not my lil angel
  • Living in a Fantasy World- it has to be different ‘just for my kid because they’re special’. Of course they are special, all children are. But unless they are physically or mentally disabled…
  • Continual excuses. Well they are going through a difficult time. The school is racist. The teachers are against them. The school isn’t built right for them. And on and on and on and on.

How many parents do you see like this when taking your child to school, at the PTA meetings, or extracurricular activities? If you look long and hard at yourself and others, I’m sure you can see it too.

                Here’s a huge surprise for everyone, all parents want the best for their kids in school & life. We are  ALL  wanting the best for them, they are our future after all, and are willing to look past some minor imperfections and stand up for them. But sometimes, it blinds us to a larger issue that needs attention.

That issue related blindness can, and usually will, cause problems down the road. Whether that blindness causes us to deny anything wrong or berate the school or teachers for perceived slights doesn’t matter. We have to open our eyes to see what the issues are. Then we need to ensure that our kids get to see the counselors, therapists, or whoever to possibly stop… whatever.

(The next post will be on the warning signs of a teenager who may Go Columbine)

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on twitter@robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

 

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