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Reducing Violence and Making Our Schools Safe

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on April 28, 2009

American K‐12 education has taken serious steps toward reducing the risk of in‐school violence, yet still today, one in three students report that they do not feel safe in school. How is it possible that our students are no safer now than they were before the horrific shootings at Columbine? The sobering truth is: we have not taken the right steps to make our schools safe, but we do know how.

A recent (May 2008) study by the US Secret Service and the US Department of Education on incidences of planned attacks in our schools concluded that a positive school climate is the central tool in preventing school violence. In particular, it emphasized the importance of ensuring that every student be “connected” to at least one caring and responsible adult and that students are supported to become upstanders rather than passive bystanders when incidences occur. In four out of the five lethal shootings, someone knew that one or more students were on the verge of serious violence, yet they did nothing. We must address that fear if we hope to change the outcome.

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