What is “averted acts of school violence” and why is it important?
According to Campus Safety Magazine, “an averted school violence incident is a violent attack planned with or without the use of a firearm that was prevented either before or after the potential perpetrator arrived on school grounds and before any injury or loss of life occurred.”
It’s important because there is some evidence to suggest that for every incident of school violence that does occur, there are significantly more incidents that are prevented. By understanding some of the tactics used to successfully prevent an incident, schools can incorporate lessons learned into their own emergency preparedness policies and procedures.
According to a report by The Police Foundation, some of the lessons learned from averted school shooting incidents include a number of things schools can do including:
- having a strong and pre-established relationship between a school and their local law enforcement
- teaching student to recognize and report concerning behavior they see or hear from other students (peer discovery of the plot accounted for more than half of the averted incidents studied by The Police Foundation)
- teaching parents to monitor their students’ social media accounts
- teaching parents to keep their guns in a locked and secure location at their home
- having faculty, staff, campus security, and other adults at the school develop and maintain a rapport with the students at the school, and teaching these adults to recognize when students are being bullied or are acting in unusual ways
- continual drilling and updating of the school’s emergency action plan
Incidents of school violence can be averted, and school administrators should do everything they can to prevent such events. Tips like those above combined with a risk assessment, improvement in security systems and policies, and training of all involved can help make schools a safer place for faculty, staff, and students.