Michael Tabman

School Violence Averted – This Time

In Crime and Security, Uncategorized on August 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

This blog is based upon the article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44036436

For the last few years, we have watched incidents of workplace violence continue to rise.  Studies have revealed a troubling number of work-related bullying, assaults, shootings and suicides.  With high unemployment, an unstable economy, and other studies revealing that 40% of Americans stay awake at night due to stress and 70% feeling stressed specifically about work – the perfect storm for workplace violence has struck.

As well, school shootings seem to have become a sad reality of our existence.  We tend to draw a distinction between school and workplace violence.  Schools have traditionally been viewed solely as an educational institution, one that provides comfort, security and guidance to our children.  But, the parallels between school and work are more common than are the distinctions.

As at the workplace, schools are structured institutions that impose standards, expectations and strict rules of conduct.  There is immense pressure to perform and excel.  There are social and interpersonal dynamics at play.  We spend many hours “stuck” at school.  And, no matter how stressful school becomes, we cannot simply avoid it – generally, school is inevitable.  Schools are places of business with many employees.  As with any other place of business, those employees are just people – vulnerable to being pushed to the edge and responding in a violent manner.

The referenced article discusses a planned school shooting that was fortunately averted.  The good news was that students who had heard about the planned attack took it seriously enough to report it to their parents or authorities.  That is one of the greatest weapons against impending violence at school or the workplace – paying attention to your environment and trusting your gut.  If you feel uneasy about something, take appropriate action.

In a review of a school district’s security program that my firm performed, we found a direct correlation between compliance with security rules and a “feeling of security” and the attitude of the principal.  As you would expect, where the principal did not take security seriously, there were higher reported incidents of security violations and a lack of feeling secure at the school.

Safety at school and work will come from being engaged, having a plan and training.  All this must come from the top.

Stay alert, stay safe.

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