School shootings and related violence have become very real concerns in our society today. Incidents like 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in Newton, Connecticut, that killed 20 children and six adults, as well as 1999 Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 14 and wounding 23 show proof of this fact. Both of these crises were all over the news media stations for days on end, bringing recognition and grief to the nation. School safety tips for an active shooter scenario could have helped teachers and staff possibly prevent all of these tragic events.
The most recent school shooting was January 20, 2017, at West Liberty-Salem High School. A 17-year-old student (Ely Ray Serna) shot his 16-year-old classmate (Logan Cole) two times with a shotgun in the chest. Luckily the 16-year-old classmate survived the ordeal but not without surgery to remove the pellet lodged in his heart.
The first school shooting is documented as far back as July 26, 1764, and has continued to increase over the years. School safety tips are in high demand after such violence has occurred across our nation. The United States has a higher rate of school shootings than any other country. A staggering 80% of the shooters were male, however, only about half of the shooters were students.
What are the Top 8 School Safety Tips for School Admins and Teachers to Help Avoid Active Shooter Situations?
- Train staff members as “Aggression First Observers” that can spot the indicators of emerging aggression. Top Safety Tip!
- Enforce zero-tolerance policies toward the presence of weapons, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
- Develop protocols between school resource officers and staff about the best ways to share information about at-risk youths.
- Develop a resource list that provides referral services for students that are depressed or under significant stress. Top Safety Tip!
- Insist that all students put jackets and other such items in their lockers during school hours.
- Teachers and staff should learn the school’s emergency procedures and active shooter response plans.
- All employees should be issued keys, participate in staff development and some form of lock-down drill.
- According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 27% of schools in the United States never practice their safety plans with local emergency responders. Train your team to learn these procedures by heart! Top Safety Tip!
What are Some of the Statistics of School Shootings in America?
According to research conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice about 85% of shooters had a history of being bullied by classmates. It’s also a known fact that some shooters had some form of a mental illness. Sadly the motives of these killers may never be known. More than 70% of them kill themselves shortly after the massacre.
The first nationally publicized mass shooting of school children in U.S. History was January 29, 1979, at Cleveland Elementary. Brenda Spencer, age 16, killed the principal and a custodian in her rampage. Eight children and a police officer were also injured. Ten years later on January 17, 1989, Patrick Purdy opened fire on the same school. Five children were killed, 29 children and one teacher were injured. Also, 71% of the school’s population was made up of Asian and Cambodian war refugees. The shooter (Patrick Purdy) had a rabid hatred for the refugees because he thought they were taking American jobs.
There is no way to calculate an accurate total of school shootings throughout our country’s history. However, using multiple historical newspaper reports and research studies, it is estimated to have been over 370 school shootings in the United States in a span of 250 years.
Schools all across our nation should have a plan of action against these types of violent acts to ensure that the students and staff are protected. By following the school safety tips set by administrators, schools can take a proactive direction in active shooter situations. In a matter of minutes, a seemingly ordinary day can turn into a moment the world will never forget. Many lives have been taken in past years due to mass shootings. It is time to be proactive about the safety and security structure of our schools and universities.
Recognizing a Potential Threat and Spotting the Telltale Signs of “Emerging Aggression.”
There is a mixture of preceding events and attributes that set the foundation for someone potentially becoming an attacker. A person exhibiting concerning behavioral signs such as a sudden fascination with weapons, declining academic performance, and mood changes are just a few contributing factors when it comes to someone who is escalating towards violence. Most attackers do not just snap. Before committing an act of violence, they have felt bullied, or persecuted by others.
More than half of the time, the perpetrator’s motive that drives the attacks are revenge. Some other reasons include desperation or suicide and trying to gain attention or recognition. More often than not, potential shooters voice their intent to commit harm towards others to close friends and colleagues. Rarely do the shooters tell adults or other people in a position of authority to act on the information. The assailant fears the adult/authority figure may try to sabotage their violent spurt of rage.
According to John Byrne, founder, and CEO of the Center for Aggression Management, there are two different types of aggression that people who commit violent acts fall under; Primal Aggression and Cognitive Aggression. Primal aggression is when primal instincts of fight or flight are fueled by adrenaline, people driven by panic or rage. Cognitive aggression, on the other hand, is a person who is conscious, with deliberate aggression which is intent-propelled.
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