School Violence Prevention – Warning Signs
My previous blog showed you a potential scenario of a mass shooting at a school, with plenty of obvious warning signs presented. Now the question is what are the warning signs. Here is the list I’ve collected over the past 23 years. Keep in mind that you may come up with better descriptions and more signs. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or that this is the ‘definitive’ all inclusive list;
- Threats veiled or overt
- Poor relationships
- Bullying – both being the bully or being bullied
- Cruelty to animals
- Poor health & hygiene
- attendance problems
- Inconsistent work habits
- Impact on teachers/counselors/administration/parent time. It builds gradually over time
- Unusual or changed behavior- not so unusual for a teen but…
- Safety concerns(tripping and running into things
- Sudden fascination with weapons
- Drug or alcohol addiction and don’t forget prescriptions and inhalants
- Violent music, video games, movies, television, & other entertainment
- Unshakeable depression
- Continual Excuses
- Serious stress in personal life
- Concentration problems
- Free expression
- Mental illness – one of the hardest to spot
- New Religious Fervor or political affiliation
- Obsession With Military\Police Tactics
I feel the need to reiterate here that one or two of these signs are probably a teenager being a teenager. However, when these signs begin to add up and you have 6, 7, 8, 10, or more then you should begin to worry. Especially if they occur over a short period of time.
Now the question becomes how do you know how to recognize these students, how do you prevent another Columbine from occurring at your school? The answer is simple and yet very complex and at the same time difficult to ascertain.
The easy answer is to encourage people to ‘see/notice something say something’. It is becoming so cliché at this point, but it is your most effective weapon in preventing an incident.
The next part of the blog will talk about the attitudes that can actually encourage violence in your school.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.
His latest book ‘one is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace violence is available for numerous e-book formats. It helps all organizations to reduce their risk and limit their liability of an incident. And it does this by breaking the rules in several ways, as well as following conventional wisdom in others.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page (One is too Many), Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.