Here are some practical tips based upon the research about how to reduce crime and avoid becoming a victim.

Preventing School Shootings

Here’s what we know:

  • School shootings are extremely rare occurrences.
  • School violence is not on the increase. Schools are actually safer places for children than other locations, such as the commute to and from school or any place you can think of that has reduced levels of supervision.
  • Kids don’t just snap. School violence is a process, not an event;
  • There’s little to no evidence to support the idea that school-based police officers deter school shootings. Columbine had a school resource officer on campus, as did the high school in Parkland, Florida. Most shootings were over before law enforcement arrived at the scene.
  • Many school shooters announce their plans to classmates or friends prior to the attack. This is known as “leakage.”
  • Attackers do not fit a profile. Some attackers were bullied in school, some were not. Some were loners, while some had friends and were not isolated. The media often create images of the school shooter—which can be very broad and describe many innocent students—or overstate a problem, such as bullying.
  • Creating a fortress-like environment at a school can lead to increased fear among students, particularly during their commute.
  • Faculty and staff should be trained on what to do in the event of a school attack. Having students participate in active shooter drills may do little more than contribute to fear and are inappropriate in many cases, particularly in a special education setting. Keep in mind that school shootings are extremely rare events.

Here’s what works: 

  • Providing youths with life skills training. Rather than implementing the useless and expensive bullying prevention programs that are currently on the market, more focus should be given to how a child can make and keep friends.
  • Smaller schools may be safer! Large schools with high enrollment may exacerbate problems that some students are experiencing, particularly if the student has transferred in from a smaller school.
  • Creating a clear mechanism for students to report troubling behavior. Students often know when there is a problem. Creating and encouraging the sharing of information is one of the most important ways that schools can prevent an attack.
  • Practical and reasonable security measures should be implemented, such as securing access and utilizing cameras in public areas where supervision is minimal.
  • Firearms in the youth’s home should always be properly stored and secured. Parents should ensure that firearms are also properly stored and secured in the homes of friends and relatives that the youth visits.