School Violence Prevention: Lessons From The Front Lines
By Greg Howard – March 8, 2013
Something very important is missing from the current debate over school safety procedures.
Since the Sandy Hook school shooting took place weeks ago, people have been arguing over the validity of various lockdown policies and school emergency response guidelines. However, there has been little discussion about how to prevent school violence from occurring.
The lack of public discussion on violence prevention is an oversight that needs to be addressed. That’s why we brought in Dr. Scott Poland, a psychologist with significant school safety credentials, for one of our recent professional development webinars. A recording of this webinar is now available for viewing; click here to watch it.
In our webinar, Dr. Poland stressed the importance of a balanced approach to school safety. He supports the use of what he calls “hardware measures” – things such as surveillance cameras, school resource officers, and ID badges – in the fight against safety threats. But Dr. Poland also believes that attention to student mental health, social relationships, and school culture is essential.
We believe that every school administrator needs to hear Dr. Poland’s ideas on how to prevent school violence. Dr. Poland’s presentation offers practical advice on topics such as:
• Forming a safety task force
• Enhancing security in school buildings
• Encouraging students to report threats
• Preparing for lockdown events
In addition, Dr. Poland’s presentation goes beyond the usual school safety talk to focus on the psychological side of school safety. The mental health topics he discusses include:
• Building relationships between students and administrators
• Addressing parental involvement issues
• Identifying students who could pose safety threats
Dr. Poland’s unique presentation is a positive addition to the debate over school safety procedures. Most discussions on school safety these days seem to center on the most controversial safety procedures, such as realistic lockdown drills and active shooter responses. We believe that Dr. Poland’s argument in favor of a balanced approach to violence prevention will be valuable to school administrators at all levels.
Please click here to view a recording of the webinar.