Will there be another school shooting?
What Can Schools Do to Make Schools Safer
Will there be another school shooting? The answer is sadly yes. It’s tragic and unfortunate, but schools are no longer safe spaces for kids. But there is good news. There is something teachers and schools can do to change their environment.
Safe Schools and Classrooms
What is a safe school and classroom? This might seem like an easy question to answer, except that it’s not easy to create a safe and conducive learning environment.
That’s part of the problem schools are facing in 2022. Too many people have assumed too much about safe classrooms. And it’s starting to catch up to us. Kids are fed up. Kids are frustrated. Kids are angry.
The Wrong Response
If you’re not an expert in the field of education, your response to student anger, aggression and defiance is going to be a lot different than mine. “I get it,” but the problem is that I have been teaching angry, defiant and struggling students for 20 years — and you haven’t.
The worst thing you can do is meet aggression with aggression. It’s a common mistake and it goes against all the psychological research and data collected for the last 50 years.
That approach might work with adults, like a military style “training camp,” but it does not work with kids — EVER!!
What students need is structure. What students need is support. What students need is guidance and a positive behavior support system.
Safe Classrooms Quiz
Before we get too deep into this topic, why not test your knowledge on safe classrooms. The Education Development Institute created this short quiz to test your knowledge. Take the quiz and find out your score. If you receive an 8 or better, you know what you’re doing. If you receive less than an 8, your knowledge of safe classrooms may be less than you realized.
How to Prevent Student Escalation
The reason school shootings happen by students is because the school, teachers and administrators never de-escalated the situation. If you leave a boiling kettle on the stove for too long, steam starts to come out the top. That’s exactly what we are seeing in schools across America.
There are two de-escalation programs that I highly recommend:
- Handle With Care
- CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute)
When I ran my K12 program, I provided training and certification for all of my staff in both de-escalation techniques and it helped a lot. One of the basic foundations of CPI is learning how to verbally de-escalate a student. What Handle With Care allows is for teachers to physically intervene if students try to have a fight with each other. The purpose of both de-escalation programs is to create safe environments for teachers and students.
Positive School Environments
There is too much mystery around how to create a positive environment, so I wanted to provide a little insight. As I have said, I have over 20 years of experience working with angry and defiant students. The wrong approach is to be angry with them. The right approach is to teach them how to become happier in the future.
That can only happen through Positive Behavior Support. This is not a new theory, in fact, it’s been around for over 50 years and it’s endorsed by the US Department of Education and all 50 state departments of education.
The most basic thing you need to know is there are three key components to positive behavior support:
- Verbal Praise
- Immediate Reward
- Long Range Incentives
If you try to implement a positive behavior support system in a classroom or school that does not include all three of these supports — it will NOT WORK!!
Join the Teacher Facebook Group
If you are a teacher, or know a teacher, tell them to join this Teacher Facebook Group. There is a FREE Positive Behavior Support Kit inside the group teachers can download and use in their classroom immediately. Again, it’s 100% FREE to join and download. Join Here:
Leaf Academy FB Teacher H.Q. | Facebook
This private FB group is for teachers looking to connect, be empowered and get FREE starter kits, and answers to…
About the Author:
D.Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. is also known as “The School Doc” and hosts a weekly LIVE podcast on Instagram called “Tuesdays with Schwartz.” He also does consulting for schools and businesses. For more information go to the Leaf Academy website (link in bio.)