School Shootings: 9 Prevention Tips for Parents and Teachers

Published on: 2017/08/05

Dr. Kathryn Seifert,  Psychologist 


Some school multivictim shootings are preventable.  To prevent such an event, one must know the roots of the problem and how to intervene.  One major root of young people committing violent and aggressive acts is being exposed to family violence in early childhood.  Early childhood trauma such as this interferes with the development of the brain, interpersonal skills, problem solving ability, logic and reasoning.  With appropriate interventions at least some acts of youthful aggression can be eliminated now and in the future.  This article outlines 9 tips for parents and teachers can use to prevent youth violence and aggression.

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School shootings, healthcare

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School shootings

School shootings are an attack on educational institutions involving firearms. School shootings have raised to an alarming rate in the USA. According to The Washington Post 2018, USA has the highest number of school shootings. Between 1999 and 2012 there were totally 31 school shootings in USA and only 14 were reported from the rest of the world. This crisis is termed “uniquely American”, the primary reason for this is the availability of firearms.

Some of the school mass shooting incidents in 2018 are:

  1. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida – 17 people were killed. The killer had behavioural issues and he was transferred between schools six times in the last three years in order to deal with these problems.
  2. Santa Fe high school, Santa Fe, Texas – 10 were killed. The killer was a victim of bullying by many students and coaches.

What leads to school shootings?

The factors that are common behind school shootings are:

  1. Dysfunctional families
  2. Lack of supervision by family
  3. Mental illness

The motives of the attackers are common because of bullying, revenge or attempt to solve a problem, depression or attention seeking.

What do school shootings indicate?

The escalating instances of school shootings have thrown light to the troubled youth, who commit such a horrible act. What goes on in the minds of youth who commit such crimes is the question that needs to be addressed by schools. This can help to prevent children from committing such crimes.

How to prevent school shootings?

School shootings involve a sense of disparity, anger or suicidal thoughts and access to firearms. Schools can easily identify students who are in despair. When these students are ignored, it paves way for such an act of violence.

  1. Supportive school environment – students should feel safe to talk to the staff about the problems they have
  2. Trust building – mutual respect between the staff and the students
  3. Healthcare providers – a system, where healthcare providers can identify students at risk by behavioural screening and asses them. Schools need mental health support staff and training for teachers to prevent violence.

Students at risk may exhibit one or more following behaviours:

  1. Sleeping disorders
  2. Abusing animals
  3. Withdrawal or isolation
  4. Attracted to violence
  5. Drug abuse
  6. Unusually intense violent content in artwork or writings
  7. Threats of violence

Read more – 9 tips for parents and teachers to prevent school shootings, Dr. Kathryn Seifert explains the various factors from which we can prevent school shootings.