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From isolated incidents between students to mass shootings, violence in schools seems to be a constant in news headlines. The statistics and anecdotes surrounding on-campus violence have many school leaders and parents alike wondering how they can keep their school from becoming the latest headline.
A new federal report shows that school shootings rose to the highest number in 20 years during the 2020-21 school year. The report states that there were 93 incidents with casualties at public and private schools in 2020-21, compared to 23 in the 2000-01 school year.
In light of this rise in attacks on schools, it’s more important than ever to do everything you can to protect those at your school. Using data, you can track signs of violence and threatening behaviors to proactively prevent the risk of these attacks.
Start using data to protect students and staff
A 2008 study showed that prior to an act of violence, most attackers behaved in ways that made others concerned. Oftentimes, some of their peers knew about the attacker’s plan ahead of time. It’s critical to train school staff to identify threatening behaviors and to have a system in place that allows for quick, effective prevention of violence.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, there are many factors school and law enforcement leaders should consider when assessing student behavior and indicators. These factors include:
- Social media communications
- Emotional and developmental issues
- Access to weapons
- Home life circumstances
Once you have a behavioral threat assessment and management procedure in place, create a systemized process for managing, tracking, and reporting on all necessary aspects of threatening student behavior so staff can monitor and address concerns sooner. This data should be housed in a single system to allow for one source of truth. Bonterra Program Management’s Case Management solution (formerly Social Solutions) helps make this a reality.
Create a central reporting policy
One of the first steps toward increasing safety in schools is creating a system for keeping data about student behaviors and potential threats in one centralized location. This ensures data is shared between departments across campuses and school districts, allowing threats to get addressed quickly.
With Bonterra Case Management reporting features, school leaders get a more holistic view of the student body. With just a few clicks, you can create and view visualized reports that allow leaders to gain insight into how programs and procedures are working. With this easy-to-understand information, campuses and school districts can:
- Make informed policy changes that improve safety.
- Be nimbler in taking preventative measures against school threats.
- Decrease barriers to resources for students and their families.
This type of data should be handled with care to ensure that sensitive information regarding children is protected. Get out of spreadsheets and email and into a secure, web-based platform that is HIPAA- and FERPA-compliant.
Invest in solutions that allow you to act quickly
When red flags surface, Bonterra Case Management allows school staffers to seamlessly refer students to other departments and programs in one online software solution. School districts can set up alerts within the software so that when you input certain notes into the system, an alert is automatically triggered, and a message is sent to appropriate staff members and administrators. When it comes to issues like school safety, time is of the essence.