Here are safety tips that some school safety consultants believe teachers should know before they step into a classroom:

• Don’t lock classroom doors. If the door is open, other teachers can check on the classroom and listen for any problems. If the door is locked and a student attacks another student or teacher, outside assistance may not arrive.

• Don’t tape artwork on windows and doors for decorating. It can prove dangerous because it may hamper vision into the classroom in a dangerous situation.

• Don’t leave lunch unattended on a desk to avoid giving students the opportunity to contaminate the food or drink.

• Always be aware of your surroundings, whether it’s in a classroom or on the playground.

• Look for signs of potential violent behavior: abnormal stuttering, rapid speech, clenched fists, redness in the face, and target glancing.

• When approaching a violent student, use a calm, reassuring voice. State in clear, concise terms what you want the student to do. Keep the student’s hands in view.

• Document everything. It may be helpful should an incident lead to litigation.


“Use of Force” (Reasonable and Deadly) by Sheila Bolin, Fanchon Funk, Richard Flesch, and William Osborne.