School shootings are becoming increasingly more common, and we find ourselves asking “Can we stop school shootings from happening?” There is no way to ensure school shooting prevention, but we would like to share some information that may be useful when it comes to creating a school and home environment that may be beneficial to putting an end to some of the violence.
- Strength-based support. This is a phrase you may have seen before, and we’ll explain exactly what it means. All too often, active school shooters feel alienated and alone. They feel like outcasts. If you can identify a student that is having a hard time in mainstream classes, but may have great artistic ability or they really enjoy coding in computer class, you can offer them strength-based support. Find those kids and offer them incentives to strengthen their areas of expertise. Corrective teaching is great for most students; helping them identify their weaknesses and working to correct those issues. But children who suffer tremendous isolation will only feel MORE isolated in that type of learning environment. By nurturing students that feel like they’re outcasts, we may be able to prevent school shootings.
- Schools can offer guidance from a Relationship Officer. These can be guidance counselors, teachers, or other facility members that offer support to students who’s home lives may not have strong adult role models. Schools can also employ a Relationship Officer. These are different from counselors. Their goals are to connect with students and offer them a healthy adult/student relationship that will open the doors to trust and acceptance.
- If you see something, report it. Whether it’s bullying, signs of abuse, signs of malnourishment, or anything that’s way outside the norm. Most active school shooters acted violently because of extreme bullying or deep feelings of isolation. We can prevent school shootings by making sure all students feel cared for. A lot of schools are overwhelmed and it’s hard to report every single incident, but it’s the one way to ensure that everything is being documented and if there are enough incidents with one student, you will be able to determine that there is a pattern. Counties are also juggling more work than most can handle, but creating a paper trail WILL help in the long run. Even if you’re the only one that sees the paper trail, at least you’ll be able to easily identify a student that could be a risk or at risk.
- Talk to your children about mental health, and let them know that there is no stigma involved with needed to talk to someone. We would much rather see a large influx of children talking to therapists as opposed to children shooting up schools. If you think your own child may need help, there is no shame in getting them into therapy. You haven’t failed as a parent; you are actually doing them a favor by getting them the help they need. We know you would rather see your child get help and potentially stop them from becoming an active school shooter. Most counties and cities even offer free services. Children Services would much rather help you get the resources you need instead of taking a child from your home or worse, putting your child into a detention center. Do not be afraid to contact Children Services or your child’s school if you feel there are psychological issues. You might be surprised to learn that Children Services also offers support groups for parents, and you as a parent may benefit from them.