The Centers for Disease Control report that about 828,000 students each year are victims of non-fatal victimization while on school property, which is about 32 victims per 1,000 students. In schools where violence statistics are even higher, it can be difficult to focus on academics – and keep students, teachers and administrators safe.
Here are five of the most important ways to turn the tide on school violence:
1. Develop Crisis Prevention Plans. Schools should have a crisis plan in place as a means for ensuring the safety of students.
Some plans may require students to wear uniforms and implement security measures, including metal detectors and visitor sign-in. More stringent plans require law enforcement officials, such as police, to be present at the school.
2. Develop School-Wide Violence Prevention Policies. Schools, particularly principals, can ensure that teachers, staff and parents within the school have common goals and that everyone is committed to reaching those goals.
3. Educate Teachers on Violence Prevention. Methods include promotion of classrooms that teach and promote respect and kindness, and in which put downs, teasing and sarcasm are not tolerated.
4. Educate Students on Violence Prevention. Teach students peer-mediation skills so that they can handle problems before they escalate.
5. Implement Alternative Schools for Serious Offenders. Segregation of students who have a history of violence by putting them in alternative schools is one approach.
There are no easy answers when it comes to violence in schools. While this list focuses on the education system alone, community efforts must also help to combat this distressing issue.