School safety is top of mind for staff, administrators, law enforcement officials, and legislators. According to a recent Secret Service report focused on school shootings, schools are taking appropriate steps to better protect themselves—often through physical methods like metal detectors and building design. But is it enough? What else can we do to keep kids safe?
Prevention should also be considered when it comes to evaluating school safety. According to the report, in 80 percent of incidents, the attackers’ behavior was so alarming that it “elicited concern from bystanders regarding the safety of the attacker or those around them” but often still went unreported.
This implies that many of the incidents could have been prevented had someone reported the behaviors. By providing the appropriate tools and training to the appropriate people, schools can use technology to both protect students from threats and prevent them from happening in the first place.
Provide an outlet for reporting
According to the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, most attackers (84 percent) share their plans to commit violence with at least one other person, but virtually no one reported risky behaviors. This could have been because only 17 percent of schools in the Secret Service study had any type of system or reporting tool in place to notify school staff or administrators of threatening or concerning student behaviors before an attack.
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