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No Community or School is Immune

Nine third graders were suspended this week after school officials in WAYCROSS, GA uncovered a plot that they planned to attack their teacher.  The children allegedly brought handcuffs, a knife, a heavy crystal paperweight and several rolls of duct tape to school.  The Waycross police said that the 8- and 9- year olds were seeking revenge against the teacher because she had scolded one of their friends.

School violence is nothing new.  In the 1960’s a film called “Black Board Jungle” was made  about violence in an inner-city school.   What is new about school violence is that it is taking place in small town, rural and suburban  America (and the world – Finland had a school shooting incident) and it involves guns and automatic weapons.  Parents moved out of  inner-city schools to escape violence, drugs, gangs and crime and guess what, these things have followed them

What can schools do to protect themselves, their staff and their students from school violence?  First, they must remain vigilant and need to recognize that no school or community is immune.  School leaders and staff need to read their school safety plans, update them if necessary and make sure that EVERY staff member  knows what they are to do in case of  an emergency.

The FBI and the Secret Service have written two reports which can be downloaded.  The FBI report is called “The School Shooter Report” and the Secret Service’s “The National Threat Assessment Report.”  Every school should have at least two copies, one in the principal’s office and one in the school library’s teacher reference file.

Parents, staff and most importantly, students need to be protected from violence.

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