School Violence Prevention – Attitudes
This is the one post in this series that many people don’t want to read. Or if they do, they will simply say to themselves, and others, I/we don’t do those things. Unfortunately, those are the people that probably are the worst offenders and are courting a bloody disaster within their school.
Who has the above attitude that will say It Can’t Happen Here? That is easy to answer, even though most would probably deny it;
The school administration of any school, 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.
Some of the biggest offenders are the parents. The reasoning behind that statement that no doubt incites thoughts of Molotov cocktails. Who knows their kids better than a parent, supposedly? Parents are the ones that are tasked with knowing their kids and raising solid citizens. But too many times, and you can check the news reports of 99% of all shootings, the parents ignored both the warning signs & attitudes.
I mean “What the hell. They’re 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…” Can we say Dylan Klebold & Eric Harris?
But without further ado, here is the list of most prevalent attitudes that allows violence to be committed in our schools. And if you look closely enough you may just find that these relate to workplace violence (WPV) as well. Some are explained others should be self-explanatory;
- 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 littler 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 fired.
- 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 minute. But it has to be tempered so that they don’t appear to be teachers/administration’s pet, which most were.
- Perceived unequal treatment. The key word in here is perceived. Whatever someone perceives to be true then it’s true. Whether that truth is reality or not… You have to be careful with preferential treatment of anyone with the perception of being a ‘teacher’s pet’.
- 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 get what you get. You should toss out the zero tolerance policies, because they cause more trouble than they are worth.
- 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 – 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 and kids 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? Or possibly at the PTA meetings or extracurricular events? If you look long and hard at yourself and others, I’m sure you can see it too.
Being realistic, 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 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 imagined discrimination don’t matter. We have to open our eyes to see what the issues are. Then we need to allow our kids to see the counselors, therapists, or whoever to possibly stop a violent incident.
(Note: this is the 3rd of 5 posts on school violence prevention. The next will focus on physical security for schools))
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