Giving Compass’ Take:
• A research effort called The Violence Project recommends training every member of a school community (from teachers to bus drivers) to pay attention to students’ mental health to help prevent school shootings.
• How can training better equip educators to understand when students are going through a mental health crisis?
• Fro an alternative viewpoint, here is how building design can help prevent school shootings.
Most school shooters are current or former students. Most are suicidal. And most share their plans in advance.
These are among the key findings of The Violence Project, a research effort examining 50 years of mass shootings in the U.S.
The project’s insights have been cited widely in news stories in the wake of recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. While informing the American public is certainly of interest to project leaders Jillian Peterson and James Densley, the professors have a more specific audience in mind. They want to translate their work into practical training for teachers and school administrators hoping to prevent violence from breaking out in their classrooms and campuses.
“People have a lot of misinformation around school shootings,” says Peterson, a psychologist and professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University. “Being able to bring data to people is really powerful.”
The researchers are currently developing a day-long course to share their findings with educators. Their chief recommendations include training every member of a school community to recognize when a student is in crisis and responding with help rather than punishment or alienation.
Before carrying out shootings, students in crisis usually tell someone about their plans, The Violence Project research shows. That phenomenon is known as “leakage,” Brock explains.
But students can leak their intentions in all kinds of ways that are difficult to track, such as dropping hints to other students or posting online. That makes it important for schools to create cultures where students feel comfortable reporting threats to adults, Peterson says. School IT specialists also have a role to play monitoring social media platforms and internet use for signs of a student in crisis.
Read the full article about research shows how teachers can help prevent school shootings by Rebecca Koenig at EdSurge.
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