Schools play an important role in students’ lives and society as a whole. A school’s learning environment should be positive and never traumatic for children. Even though every child has a right to study in a safe and secure place which makes learning fulfilling and possible, statistics show otherwise. According to the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) report, around 40 to 50 % of students faced school violence in the past year.
Violence against children has many forms; it can be physically, emotionally, sexually, online or offline. School violence and safety continue to be key discussion subjects for school boards and committees around the country. Harassment and bullying, weapons on campus, and physical fighting are daily threats that require proper training and tools to prevent them.
There is no proven method to improve safety at schools because every school consists of unique students, teachers, backgrounds, and risks. The effective way is to implement the right initiatives, policies, and security measures at school. This article will help you learn about violent behavior, to watch for risks, and how to prevent it. Following are a few effective strategies to decrease violence and improve school safety.
Implement physical security measures
A common method to decrease violence at school is to carry out strong security efforts, such as security systems, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, and campus guards. Install security cameras in classes, hallways, and corridors near the doors and the main gate so that security personnel can monitor unfamiliar faces and potential violence and prevent dangerous situations.
Maintaining a security system to control campus access can restrict people enter or exiting the school building. Suppose a door opens apart from regular school hours; set up an alarm that contacts local law enforcement. Assign extra security personnel that patrols the whole campus, parking area, sports ground, and other common places.
Identify children with a high risk of committing violence
It is the teacher’s responsibility to asses every student’s profile and notice changes in their behavior. Students who turn towards violence act aggressively at school. Reviewing the old cases suggest that students who commit violence are depressed, loner, isolated, angry, and, in some cases, are the one being bullied.
When a child is bullied at school, he exhibits violent behavior with other students and teachers. In some cases, there are factors from home, school, and social and financial problems disturbing the kids and driving them towards a violent path.
Implement strict policies against violence
Implementing a zero-tolerant policy at school will punish those who commit violence and prevent other students from violent behavior. When you set an example of punishing a student for violent actions, other students will be less likely to bully others or bring weapons to campus.
Another method is to develop an inclusive, safe environment. For students, implement school-wide policies emphasizing positive values such as respect, communication, and inclusion. And for teachers, create policies that highlight teachers’ role in preventing violence. Review these procedures and policies to guarantee their success.
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Emotional support for students
Students with emotional and social problems cannot properly concentrate on their studies and fall behind academically. When students feel depressed, they are emotionally unstable to take their classes and turn to online class help, where they hire someone to take their classes for them.
That is why schools must update their policies and provide emotional support to struggling students. Arrange a weekly group discussion with those students and let them talk about their emotions and any social issue they face. In this way, students will learn to express their emotions positively and resolve any conflicts in their minds.
Mental health screening
Every school must have mental health professional or a psychologist on their staff. A trained psychologist or counselor understands children’s behavior and is an expert in intervening in their issues. Getting psychological therapy is a fundamental need in today’s world. They can help students before it’s too late.
These professionals can easily identify students with potential violence and educate teachers to stay alert while stating the warning signs. Once the students with risk are identified, find out what is causing distress for them and help them resolve it with a solution.
Use software and tools to identify trends and risks
Many tools and software can help you identify potential risks and violence at school. When every incident is recorded, it is easy to find out where the violence is happening and who’s responsible for it. This process is called systematic monitoring. It can help you collect and interpret data from multiple sources and shed light on an area of concern.
Educate teachers on violence prevention
Teachers should be educated on violence prevention techniques and how to implement them in the classroom. Teachers are responsible for teaching kids kindness, empathy, and respect for each other. Do not tolerate negative behavior in the class, such as sarcasm and teasing.
In addition, help them learn conflict resolution skills to solve their problems efficiently. Teachers should use a constructive communication method when interacting in class to avoid violence.
Educate students on violence prevention
Help students learn peer-mediation skills to solve their problems before they amplify. Permit children to be engaged in decision-making, so they realize they have a voice in dealing with offenders. Urge other children to tell if their friend or classmate is being treated unfairly or violently.
Create policies that foster a caring and nurturing environment
Schools should encourage positive values for children’s welfare. When students feel valued and cared for, they will create positive attachments with their school and do not feel angry or alienated. Create posters with positive messages such as every student is important or we care about our students and stick them in hallways or on notice boards.
There is no straightforward answer when it comes to school violence. The above strategies only focus on violence prevention at the school level, but community efforts can also help combat this distressing situation. The ultimate goal should be to offer children a secure environment to learn and grow.