Despite decades of high-profiling shootings, school has increasingly become a safer place. This according to statistics. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary however, another school attack or safety scare unfolds almost weekly. The concern has to do with the psychological impact of some of these incidents according to the U.S. Department of Education. The shootings are so upsetting and traumatic, it reinforces the perception that schools are still not safe.
Safety has improved for students and teachers according to the Justice and Education Departments. Its a huge struggle trying to bring people's focus back from emotion. Sandy Hook intensified a national debate about arming educators that still continues in several states.
Despite the decline in school violence, there are plenty of schools where it is still a problem. Besides gun violence, we must remember and address issues such as bullying, gangs, theft, etc. In 2011, 20% of high school students were bullied at school and 33% reported they were involved in a fight. Youth and school violence may lead to depression, alcohol and drug use and fear. CNN has reported U.S. School Violence fast facts and listed elementary, middle and high school incidents of violence including fatalities.
As parents, teachers and students prepare for the upcoming school year, hopefully fears of school violence will not be their major concern. What is sad is that school violence has to be a concern at all. The fact is, violence of one sort or another is a part of many schools.
School administrators, teachers, parents and students as well as local law enforcement must be aware of school safety and security measures. Schools need to have a comprehensive emergency action plan in place and it must be reviewed by all staff.
Hoping for a safe school year ahead!