Study: Communication Important Aspect In Reducing School Violence

With the proliferation of school violence across the nation, legislators and school administrators are contemplating massive expenditures in physical security improvements, including the installation of security cameras, metal detectors and the hiring of additional security personnel.

And while these types of long-term capital investments may be important components of a comprehensive approach to school safety, a new white paper titled 'A Strategy for Safer Schools' reveals that officials may be overlooking the most important and effective aspect in reducing the likelihood of school violence -- communication. By focusing on and improving the frequency and flow of two-way dialogue between students and faculty, the paper suggests, school administrators can foster a safer learning environment more rapidly and at a lower overall cost.

The white paper concludes that students are the best source of information for what is happening inside schools and school administrators must facilitate two-way dialogue so that students become active participants in making their environment more secure. In fact, the emphasis on physical security improvements are seen by many students as restrictions on their freedom further exacerbating the communication gap between the adults who seek to protect them and the children themselves.

"The overwhelming majority of students want a safe place to learn -- free of bullies and fights and peer pressure -- but if students are to be part of the security solution, school administrators must give adolescents a voice and demonstrate trust," said Carter Myers, President of AnComm, the developer of 'Talk About It,' an anonymous online messaging service for schools. "Students have all the information we need to keep them safe, but they need the means to communicate with adults without fear of retribution or embarrassment from peers. The schools that are addressing communication as the 'hub' of their strategy rather than a 'spoke' are seeing more significant improvements in their overall school culture."

The paper can be viewed at

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