School Violence Prevention
Brief Facts and Tips
All schools work to prevent school violence and schools are very safe places. Students, staff, and parents all have an important role in promoting school safety. Adults can provide leadership by reassuring students that schools are generally very safe places for children and youth and reiterating what safety measures and student supports are already in place in their schools. Adults can:
- Create a safe, supportive school climate (e.g., school-wide behavioral expectations, caring school climate programs, positive interventions and supports, and psychological and counseling services).
- Encourage students to take responsibility for their part in maintaining safe school environments, including student participation in safety planning.
- Reiterate the school rules and request that students report potential problems to school officials.
- Remind students of the importance of resisting peer pressure to act irresponsibly.
- Create anonymous reporting systems (e.g., student hot lines, suggestion boxes, and “tell an adult” systems).
- Control access to the school building (e.g., designated entrance with all other access points locked from the exterior).
- Monitor school guests.
- Monitor school parking lots and common areas, such as hallways, cafeterias, and playing fields.
- Include the presence of school resource officers, security guards, or local police partnerships.
- Use security systems.
- Develop crisis plans and provide preparedness training to all staff members.
- Develop threat-assessment and risk-assessment procedures and teams for conducting the assessments.
- Hold regular school-preparedness drills (e.g., intruder alerts, weather, fire, lockdown, evacuation).
- Create school-community partnerships to enhance safety measures for students beyond school property.
- Cite school safety incident data. Many school districts have local data that support a declining trend in school violence. When possible, citing local data helps families and students feel more at ease.
- Be a visible, welcoming presence at school, greeting students and parents and visiting classrooms.
- Conduct an annual review of all school safety policies and procedures to ensure that emerging school safety issues are adequately covered in current school crisis plans and emergency response procedures.
- Review communication systems within the school district and with community responders. This should also address how and where parents will be informed in the event of an emergency.
- Highlight violence prevention programs and curricula currently being taught in school. Emphasize the efforts of the school to teach students alternatives to violence including peaceful conflict resolution and positive interpersonal relationship skills.
Brock, S.E., Nickerson, A.B., Reeves, M.A., Jimerson, S.R., Lieberman, R.A., & Feinberg, T.A. (2009). School crisis prevention and intervention: The PREPaRE model. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
Cowan, K., and Paine, C., (2015). School safety: What really works. Principal Leadership, 13(7), 12. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/resources/principals/March_13_School_Safety.
© 2015, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814; (301) 657-0270, Fax (301) 657-0275; www.nasponline.org
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This handout provides guidance for talking to children after high profile violent acts. It includes suggestions based on age and grade level, as well as suggested points to emphasize.
School Violence Prevention: Tips for Parents and Educators
All schools work to prevent school violence and schools are very safe places. Students, staff, and parents all have an important role in promoting school safety.
School Violence Prevention: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams
School administrators and crisis team members can create safe, secure, and peaceful schools free from the destructive influence of violence in all of its forms.
Responding to School Violence: Tips for Administrators
Administrators can reinforce the importance of creating a caring school community in which adults and students respect and trust each other and all students feel connected, understand expectations, and receive the behavioral and mental health support they need.