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    7 Useful Strategies to Prevent School Violence

    All students have the right to learn in a safe and secure school environment. As a school administrator, it’s your responsibility to keep your students safe from outside threats and from each other. As the world becomes increasingly more unstable, divided, and violent, it’s common to see more reports of school violence on the news: bullying, fighting, weapons use, gang violence, and sexual violence.

    Understandably, preventing school violence should be a top priority for all school administrators today. These strategies can help you keep your students safe on school property.

    Physical Security Measures

    Schools can benefit from stronger physical security measures for violence prevention and deterrence.

    Request a budget for security cameras in the classrooms, hallways, and parking lot, as well as near all external doors. Install a security system to control school property access. All exterior side doors should be automatically locked from the outside. Consider an alarm that contacts law enforcement if a door is opened outside of school hours.

    Security guards can also deter violence and act swiftly when threats occur. Security guards should patrol hallways, parking lots and other common areas for suspicious individuals and behaviours.

    Employ Weapons Detection Technology

    Schools with a high prevalence or risk of gang violence or weapons use should consider additional security measures to keep students safe, including weapons detection technology. With weapons becoming a growing concern in schools, adding this measure of security makes sense to detect threats before they turn into violence. This will prevent tragedies from occurring.

    The latest school security solutions are far more discreet and noninvasive than traditional metal detectors. This is to ensure students and teachers are safe from threats without creating a negative experience when entering school.

    Students and visitors are unobtrusively scanned at entry points to accurately detect concealed weapons. No pat-downs. No emptying pockets and school bags of personal items for all to see. It’s just a fast and discreet detection of guns, knives, and other weapons.

    Implement Zero-Tolerance Violence Policies

    Zero-tolerance policies towards school violence can deter violent behaviour and give you the means to punish and remove students who behave violently.

    Students are less likely to be violent when a zero-tolerance policy is strictly followed. Make your policy known throughout the school – hang posters and host regular reminder sessions to explain what the school considers violence and what happens if a student is caught acting violently on school property.

    Invest in Personnel Training

    It is not your sole responsibility to prevent violence at school. All of the adults and students have to play their part. You can, however, ensure they know what to look for and what to do by holding training sessions to improve school safety.

    When teachers and other school personnel are trained to see the warning signs of violence, they can act more confidently and quickly to intervene before situations become violent. Some of these early warning signs include threats of harm to the school or any student. They also include social withdrawal, expressions of violence in drawings or violence, uncontrollable anger, bullying behaviours, a history of discipline issues, drug or alcohol use, and affiliations with gangs.

    Training programs should also equip school personnel with the knowledge to communicate effectively to reduce potentially violent episodes. In addition, they should understand exactly what to do if they suspect or see violence.

    Make Mental Health Care a Priority

    More students today go to school with uncontrollable anger issues, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. These students are often at higher risk of violence.

    Employ a mental health professional on school property to counsel these at-risk students and provide the support they need to stay on the right path. This measure can help prevent violence before it starts while showing the school’s commitment to student health.

    Use Incident Tracking Software

    Another technology you can deploy to prevent school violence is incident tracking software. This technology can track reported violent incidents into a single database, automatically assess risks, and identify potentially dangerous trends you should know.

    This type of systemic monitoring is becoming more popular in schools to monitor and address concern issues before they escalate.

    Create a Crisis and Emergency Plan

    If all other measures fail to stop a violent incident, you should have a crisis and emergency plan. Ideally, this plan will help those in crisis understand how to respond and act to keep themselves and others safe.

    Your plan should detail protocols for defusing dangerous situations, how and where to evacuate the property and when to enforce a lockdown. Teachers and school personnel should read and understand the plan. Take part in drills to ensure everyone knows how to handle a crisis appropriately.

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