We’ve explored several aspects of school violence prevention in the last several posts. Now for the last part of the series, which would be one of the biggest prevention methods you can have. 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.
Administrators and parents 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 attitudes that can cause disenfranchisement,
- . 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 kids themselves (age appropriate of course).
- . Understand that there is no such thing as deniability anymore. Administration, teachers, parents, & everyone else need 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…
- . Zero tolerance doesn’t work. Zero tolerance is a way to avoid responsibility and not think about the potential incident. A way to dispense with the problem that may not be.
- . Security measures that isn’t secret. Do they need to know everything? No, but they need to assured that the school is safe – without being lied to or mislead.
- . 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! From students (kindergarten to seniors), parents, teachers, support staff, & administration, keeping it age appropriate of course.
- . 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.
- 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.
- . 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 cliche’ by Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan until they get hit 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. Although I do know that I want to protect my kids even now – and they’re in their mid-30s for 2 and the other is 18. It never stops.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear