Tips: Prevent School Violence

Nearly 50 percent of all schools reported crimes of physical attacks without a weapon, theft or larceny, and vandalism; students age 12 through 18 were victims of more than 2.7 million total crimes at school and were more likely than older students to be victims of crime at school. It is never too late to teach your children about school safety and security. School safety is everyone's business. The best safety efforts start at home but should involve all aspects of your child's school, including classroom instruction, school services, and the school climate.

Getting Started

  • Here is a checklist to review with school administrators, teachers, parents and others.
  • Is student safety a priority for your school and your community?
  • Do parents have access to reports about the number of violent or other unsafe incidents?
  • Does your school have procedures for responding quickly to emergency or unsafe situations?
  • Is your school addressing ways to prevent as well as respond to crises?
  • Are the school board, school principal, school superintendent, teachers, school staff, parents, students and community professionals all involved in these efforts?
  • Who is responsible for coordinating activities to maintain a safe school environment?
  • Are counselors and psychologists available to work with students who are troubled or disruptive?
  • Do students in all grades participate in classes to help them develop conflict resolution and other life skills?
  • Do school health service providers help or refer students who come to them with concerns about safety?
  • Are parents and students involved in activities that promote school safety?
  • Does the school have fair, firm, consistent discipline policies?
  • Is safety addressed in all aspects of the school program -- the cafeteria, physical education, classrooms, playgrounds, after-school programs, etc.?

Discussing and Educating Our Children

  • Information regarding school safety and security should be based on individual needs, age and environment with a goal of reassuring students while highlighting limited potential for crime and how to respond or prevent becoming a victim. General tips for parents to discuss with children:
  • Schools are safe places. Our school staff works with your parents and public safety providers, such as police and fire departments to keep you safe.
  • Our building is safe because...
  • We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
  • There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
  • Senseless violence is hard to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying.
  • Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. Some people have problems controlling their anger, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffer from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to help these people to keep them from hurting others.
  • Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun.
  • Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Seek help from an adult if you or a friend is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions you cannot control.
  • For Parents: Open communication between home and school is critical to the safety and well-being of our students and your children. Let us know if you have a concern or question about school policies or your child's safety. Know if your child's friends have access to guns. Keep any guns in your house locked up and away from children of all ages.
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