When school is no longer safe
If you are in a school setting, you may have concerns about the school because it's in a dangerous neighborhood or because of the high incidences of fighting, bullying and other sorts of interpersonal violence.
What to do
- Review the school’s anti-violence and anti-bullying policies and programs
- Provide emotional support by listening to concerns, worries and problems. But don’t be too quick to offer advice, unless they ask for it. They need to trust that you are there for them when they need someone to talk to.
- Provide problem-solving support by helping them lay out their problems and potential solutions step by step, so that they work through their problems and figure out their own solutions. Again, don’t be too quick to simply tell them what to do or offer advice.
What to Avoid
- Don’t go it alone. Seek help for serious issues involving abuse, violence and/or suicide.
How to get help
- Work with school personnel on strategies to increase their sense of safety at school
- Meet with the school principal to express your concerns
- Meet with the School Resource Officer if one is available
- Check out the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Teen Victim Project for online material on community violence, gangs and other sources of victimization
Look for Warning Signs
- Declining interest in school and family
- Changes in friends
- Changes in clothing (such as wearing the same color combination all the time)
- Gang symbols on clothing or possessions
- Extra cash from unknown sources
- Carrying a weapon
The Bigger Picture
If the school is in a poor, inner-city environment (maybe non-White) it is more likely to be affected by safety issues. Students who are victims of violence in school might be robbed, beaten, bullied, or threatened. They may frequently witness violence including assaults, muggings, or robberies. These experiences of being both witnesses and victims can have long-term effects on children.
From The Blog
Chicago mentoring program proves effective in reducing youth violence
In the United States, violent injuries are one of the leading causes of death among adolescents. Specifically in urban areas, intentional violent injuries account for 85% of injury-related adolescent deaths; the youths who survive this violence are at 88 times the risk for recurrent injury and/or fatal violence than those teens who have not been exposed to violent injury…
For many students, school is less safe than home.
Our nation's schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/crimeindicators/crimeindicators2014/