What Can Schools Do? Recognize the anxiety students, teachers, parents, and administrators feel as the anniversary nears is real. We recomend assisting individuals in focusing the energy generated by their anxiety on positive efforts that can help to reduce the risks of school violence.
Increase the presence of adults in your school. Encourage parents to bring their children to school and to pick them up after school. Parents can volunteer to be present in the hallways, in the cafeteria, in parking lots, and on the playground. Teachers and administrators can more actively and visibly supervise the school during the remaining weeks of school.
Organize a partnership with law enforcement officials in your community, not to foster a police or siege mentality in a school, but to alleviate any anxiety and fear felt by the community. Working with local officials, you can encourage one-on-one interaction between students and law enforcement personnel increasing the sense of security among students and teachers.
Organize field trips and recreational activities designed to alleviate tensions and anxieties. Be sure that you do not exclude even one child from these events.
Organize a campaign getting out the message that violence or the threat of violence is not a joke.
Administrators should try to not overreact to events. Allow more time when dealing with children and youth who may be displaying symptoms of the pressures they are experiencing and the anxiety resulting from stress. Take the time to carefully assess the appropriate consequences of inappropriate behavior. Although we encourage high standards for conduct and behavior, and appropriate consequences for misconduct, setting high positive expectations is the key to getting students to work with us to create safe schools.
Teachers should take time to listen to what students may be saying to them. Counselors and administrators should find ways to connect with children and youth. Teachers, counselors, and administrators should make themselves both visible and available, particularly during peak times throughout the school day.
Maintain heightened awareness during the coming weeks. All adults should support each other in sensing and reporting activities and behavior that may be of cause for concern.
Creating safer schools requires the commitment and vigilance of students, parents, and the adults who work in our schools. The entire school community must be involved in the effort. We must resist quick-fix solutions and work for the long-term safety of our schools, bringing all members of the community together.