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Q: What can schools do to prevent school shootings before they happen?

True Security Design - Preventing violence in our schools

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A: I have been involved in teaching and training schools and businesses on preparing for and surviving violence for the past 15 years and it has always been my goal to prevent the violence in the first place.

To do this, I have created a program called a “Student Based Threat Assessment”. This type of assessment and training guides school personnel in the development of a Threat Response Team. The teams are made up of district employees such as administrators, teachers, and counselors. They are trained to look for and evaluate threats and then identify potentially dangerous students so they can intervene before they attack. This has always seemed to me to be a better plan than simply reacting to an attack once it begins.

If we can identify the potentially dangerous kids before they strike out at their classmates and teachers, we can save many lives and prevent many life changing injuries. If we look at the investigations after a school shooting attack, we often see many clues that violence was brewing, but no one picked up on the danger.

Investigators of school shootings and workplace shootings for that matter regularly find students and co-workers knew a particular person was a danger but they don’t say anything for two main reasons:

#1- They don’t want to be perceived as a “rat”, a person that tells on others or

#2- They don’t feel there is anyone they can trust to tell who will not overreact and involve them in an investigation where everyone would know they were the source of the report or “tip” to authorities.

We can use this information to help keep our schools safe by doing a couple of things. First, we can set up an anonymous Tip Line or phone app that would allow the students to report the danger without being identified and still allow school officials to investigate any threats before an attack occurs.

The second thing we must have in place in our schools is a trained Threat Response Team to respond to any and all threats such as threats from social media, writings, drawings, rumors or those made verbally. A Student Based Threat Assessment and development of a Threat Response Team is a crucial safety and security process for every school.

These two additions to our schools will increase the odds that we learn about potential violence before it erupts in our schools and takes the lives of our kids. So yes, we can do more; we can prevent potential violence.

You can email me or have your school officials email me and I can help them set up the Threat Response teams and train the staff to evaluate and intervene.

Email: JPangaro@TrueSecurityDesign.com

I am the host of a weekly TV show on the Disrupt-edtv network called the School safety and security show - “Hope is NOT a Tactic”. This show is dedicated to school safety and security issues, and is designed for school personnel AND parents and guardians, so we can all get up to speed on keeping our kids safe.

To find the show you can go to www.Disrupt-edtv.com and look up the school safety tab. Each episode is about 15 to 20 minutes in length and tackles a specific school security issue. Take a look, together we are all on the security team!

Email me with any questions: JPangaro@TrueSecurityDesign.com

Our web site: www.TrueSecurityDesign.com