We’ve explored several aspects of school violence prevention in the last several posts. Now for the last part of the series, which would potentially be the biggest prevention method you can utilize. Training. Along with the recognition of the warning signs attitudes and physical security, training may be the most important part of preventing violence in our schools. And trust me it’s not as easy as you may think to do this.
Parents & administrators are readily willing to learn about active shootings and the idea of blaming others for the problem. But when it comes to blaming themselves, well … it’s not that easy to convince them about their need to train. So… a brief synopsis of what needs to be trained on, who needs to be trained in it, and how you need to train them is listed here;
What needs to be taught:
- Warning signs – and this means not to allow them to poo-poo the idea of what the warning signs mean, the idiotic phrase “Not my lil angel”, and how to approach them.
- . The attitudes that can cause disenfranchisement, within the school from parents and administrators– part 2 of this series
- . Communication between teachers, administration, parents, & students. This is one area that absolutely has to be done. Communication is an absolute must for everyone concerned. From teachers, administrators, parents, & the children themselves (age appropriate of course).
- . Understand that there is no such thing as plausible deniability. Everyone needs to understand this and use #3. And going along with this is stop blaming everyone else for what your kids do. You’re the parent. Of course there is plenty of blame to go around but stop blaming others until it can be seen objectively.
- . Zero tolerance doesn’t work. Zero tolerance policies are a simple way to avoid responsibility and not think about the potential incident. A way to dispense with the problem that may not be clear and concise. I don’t like excuses and that includes “It gives us time to think and evaluate”. What about the old days when you had to think on your feet?
In Arizona a recent report surveyed that minority children were more easily suspended or expelled for minor offenses than whites or Asians. Most of those suspensions and expulsions were based on zero tolerance policies. Wanna keep using it?
- . Security measures that isn’t secret. Do they need to know everything? No, but they need to be assured that the school is safe… without being lied to or misled.
- . Disaster/active shooter plan outlines – the same goes here as for #6. Just run over it quickly for parents. For school staff obviously it needs to be in depth.
Who needs to be trained & How?
- EVERYONE needs to be trained. From students (kindergarten to seniors, up to and including college seniors), parents, teachers, support staff, & administration, keeping it age appropriate. The importance of the training absolutely must be understood and not dismissed as not vital or unimportant.
- . Classroom style in a comfortable way. Serve coffee or water. Don’t let it be a sales bitch session atmosphere
- . If questions aren’t forthcoming, then use the Socratic Method, ask them questions and make them think about it. Make them train themselves.
- . Utilize the KISS Method as well. It’s not politically correct to say but Keep It Simple Stupid.
- . Use handouts as reference materials so they can retain what you talked about. Again though, ensure that only the material they should have gets handed out.
- Use disaster & active shooter drills within the school but do so sparingly. Once a year is good enough. Table top exercises should also be employed for staff, at least every other year.
- . Ensure that a full evaluation of your drills, training, & all other reference materials is documented, analyzed, researched, & acted on. It does no good to have a plan if it never gets updated. Remember the cliché’ by Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”
So, how do we protect our kids while they’re at school? Keep in mind that no matter what we do, a child can always be killed at school due to another student. Even turning our schools into armed camps wouldn’t stop it all. Even pencils, staplers, and other such common materials can be used as deadly weapons.
Being realistic, the only thing we can do to prevent our kids from being assaulted or killed at school is know the warning signs, attitudes, physical security, & training. Above that it is nearly impossible to protect them at every single moment of the day without keeping them at home and wrapping them in bubble wrap. Although I do know that I want to protect my kids even now, and they’re in their 20s & 30s. It never stops.
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 his Facebook page, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear