Community Safety for Schools
In November 2019 the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center published a study of K-12 schools that experienced a violent event during the period 2008-2017. The study found:
There is no attacker profile.
Most attackers were known to the school where the incident occurred.
Most attackers were victims of bullying.
All attackers experienced social stressors with peers and/or romantic partners.
All attackers exhibited noticeable concerning behaviors.
While these statistics can be terrifying, they also mean you can see violent behavior well in advance. And that means you can do something about it. But you have to be aware. You must know what to look and listen for. A person doesn’t lash out when they’re happy. They lash out when they’re in pain, in isolation, or when something is mentally wrong. At its core, violence is a mental health issue. But safety will follow if your community cares. And most importantly, the whole community must participate. A community that is aware of each member and actively cares for each other is a safe community.
This cannot be done through a training session. It requires ongoing engagement by a uniquely experienced and prepared community safety practitioner.
The problem with an active shooter drill or a training session is that if you have an active shooter, you’ve already failed. The goal and the focus must be on preventing an attack. Should you prepare for a violent incident? Of course. And there are simple things to be done to ensure each individual’s natural reactions are put to the best use during an attack. But that’s not where you need to put your principal effort. Most of your time, energy and resources must be spent on building and maintaining an aware and engaged community with individuals committed to high levels of mental health and situational awareness; a community of people focused on ensuring no individual is alone and in pain. Maintain that community, and you’ll never need to deal with a shooter.
Community Safety for Schools facilitates a culture where every person is aware of and cares for the others because they value making the contribution. Because it feels good to be good. Where every person is responsible for the whole, for identifying pain, harm and threats, and for mobilizing the community to heal the pain, fix the harm and stop the threats. Each person is different, each will act and react in a different way, so each has a role they are suited for, and everyone has a position to play. It’s a community where bullies don’t exist because they don’t want to; because everyone rejects the attitude and the behavior. A community where self-loathing feelings and destructive behavior doesn’t exist, because everyone cares enough to act when they see someone in pain.
At Community Safety for Schools it’s not about making you feel artificially safe and it’s not about making you scared. It’s about making you aware and teaching you how to process that awareness in a functional way. Feeling artificially safe is dangerous and being scared leads to injury. Being aware gives you sight, empowers you to action, and keeps you safe.