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Dealing with Incidences of School Violence

When one thinks of school violence, often the first thing to come to mind is school shootings. Although events such as Newtown, Conn. are rare, some students face violence in school every day—ranging from bullying to rape to suicide and murder. Violence must never be tolerated.

Having effective prevention and response plans can be crucial in dealing with multiple forms of school violence. However, before being able to identify early warning signs, the school first must build the foundation and capacity to identify these signs. Schools need to create a caring school community where they have encouraging step-by-step reporting procedures, programs to continually train educators about warning signs, and policies that foster a partnership between the student’s family and the school.

After creating a strong school foundation, what is most important in preventing and dealing with school violence is noticing student behavior problems, and recognizing those either at risk for committing violence or those who already are victims. Safeguarding our Children: An Action Guide , created by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education, is a guide for schools to understand the steps in using early intervention through five basic principles, including:

  • Do no harm to the student;
  • Understand violence and aggression within a context;
  • Avoid stereotypes;
  • View warning signs with a developmental context;
  • Understand that children typically exhibit multiple warning signs.

Preventing violence in schools will improve a school’s learning environment and create a safer community.


The departments of Education and Justice as well as the American Institutes for Research created a report called Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide to educate schools on how to prevent violence and deal with it when it occurs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also a good resource to find data and statistics on school violence, prevention tools and additional resources.

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) provides resources for encouraging conversations about the prevention of bullying in school communities.

The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice provides many resources related to school violence prevention and intervention.