Cases of violence among teenagers and youths have increased dramatically over the past recent years. Aside from the common cases of street violence, America has recorded a myriad of violence cases within the school compounds. School violence is a severe problem that continues to plague and destabilize the current education system. The unprecedented increase on cases of violence and gun shootings within the school compound has brought about fear and distress among many parents and the society at large. The devastating insecurity incidences have not only threatened lives but also led to an alarming number of students’ deaths. In a bid to protect millions of students from ever experiencing the gruesome incidences, certain policies are being created to prevent and mitigate such unfortunate events.
The term ‘violence’ is defined as an aggressive behavior where the actor or perpetrator uses his or her own body or an object to inflict injury or discomfort upon another individual (Cowie 2). Violence may result to serious injuries, psychological harm, mal-development, and worse; death. Prevention of violence in form of cycle for preparedness is a key strategy that can be used to alleviate students from the grave consequences of violence. Protection, deterrence, preemption and mitigation are the primary steps of preventing school violence (Fein 6). Protection and preemption allow the responsible agents to identify and stop any form of insecurity threat before they occur (Cowie 14). On the other hand, mitigation and deterrence are important for limiting or displacing an attack or an anticipated event (O’Toole 25). Prevention of violence entails vital activities which include; collaboration, information sharing, threat recognition, risk management, and intervention (Fein 10). With the ever increasing cases of school violence and gun shootings in school, it is crucial for the school authorities to adopt certain prevention strategies that would help in curbing more attacks within school compounds. The school may thereby make significant security changes by increasing stringent security measures, employing skilled crisis response teams, creating a more conducive environment for learning, and improving relations between the school and the surrounding communities (Fein 16).
The increase of youth crimes is a devastating issue that ought to be dealt with appropriately. Most youths usually delve into criminal activities due to psychological problems, peer pressure, and due to effects of substance abuse. Security authorities have thereby formulated comprehensive school threat assessment process to further identify and reduce cases of school violence (Fein 41). The first process of school threat assessment process is to establish authority and leadership to conduct an enquiry (O’Toole 25). This process enables the security team to assess and analyze any form of behavioral change in students. The security personnel are required to gather crucial information and investigate any data that signifies potential security threat. Development of a multidisciplinary threat assessment team, establishment of interagency systems relationship and partnerships to respond to public safety concerns and awareness training for staff, students, parents and community partners in warning signs of violence and reporting procedures are recognized as crucial steps for school threat assessment process. The above strategies are integral steps that are eminently important in the prevention and mitigation of violence within school compounds. In order to promote education as an important aspect of life, it is crucial for the parents to be assured that their children are in a safe and conducive learning environment.
O’Toole, Mary Ellen. The school shooter a threat assessment perspective. DIANE Publishing, 2009.
Fein, Robert A. Threat assessment in schools: A guide to managing threatening situations and to creating safe school climates. DIANE Publishing, 2002.
Cowie, Helen. Violence in Schools: The Response in Europe. London: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003. Print.