Now we come to what I consider the most important preventative for violence in ALL organizations…warning signs. All 24 that I’ve collected, starting with Mid-Buchanan Middle School in Faucett, MO. In 1988 (Nathan Faris).
However, I will warn you, just because someone you know will have one or two of these signs, doesn’t mean much. But when they start exhibiting 4, 5, 10, or more of these…then you may have a whole pot full of trouble bubbling ready to overflow, as in the scenario that started this series.
• Attendance Problems
• Continual Excuses
• Concentration Problems
• Cruelty to Animals
• Domestic violence
• Disciplinary issues
• Drug and Alcohol Abuse
• Excessive social media use & being immersed in it
• Fascination with Weapons
• Free Expression
• Impact on supervisory/instructor time
• Inconsistent Work Habits/Decreased Productivity
• Known Mental Illness
• New Religious/Political Fervor
• Obsession with Military/Police Tactics
• Obsession with past mass shootings and admiration of those perpetrators
• Poor Health and Hygiene
• Poor Relationship Skills
• Safety Concerns
• Serious Stress
• Threats both open and veiled
• Unshakable Depression
• Unusual or Changed Behavior
• Violent Music, Movies and Video games
I feel the need to reiterate here that one or two of these signs are probably a teenager being a teenager. However, when these signs begin to add up and you have 4, 7, 9, 10, or more then you should begin to worry. Especially if they occur over a short period of time, within 6 months to a year, sometimes much shorter and sometimes much more lead time.
How do you know how to recognize these students, how do you prevent another high school mass shooting, or threat for one, or Parkland, FL. from occurring? The answer is simple and yet very complex and at the same time difficult to ascertain.
The easy answer is to encourage people to ‘see/notice something says something’. It is becoming so cliché at this point, but it is your most effective weapon in preventing an incident.
Yes, I know the unwritten code of teenagers, no snitching. But sometimes you have to do everything short of bullying them to get a teenager to fess up. And secondly…listen to what they tell you, and what isn’t spoken, about school, friends, ‘the losers’, and so on. By listening to them and looking at their social media sites (and don’t call it snooping or call their privacy rights into question – they don’t exist at this point), then you may just get a handle on it and spot these signs before they can open the gates of hell to splatter blood in a deadly rage.
If you feel that you need assistance with preventing school violence, including the warning signs above, please contact Sollars Violence Prevention Training & Consulting or read my book on this subject published in 2018 and available on Amazon Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention
It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Any Where… For any Reason
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.
Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars