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School Shootings Essay

2264 words - 10 pages

It's a typical day in a high school classroom. Students are going about their usual agendas - working on geometry homework, reading plays in English class, dabbling in chemistry.Suddenly, it happens. Shots ring out. Quick. Loud. Resonant.The students are suddenly aware their school is under siege.Would they know what to do or how to get out? And after it's over, would they know where they could seek counseling? But most importantly, could it have been avoided? Following the tragic shootings of 12 high school students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., many school officials are asking themselves the same questions, but many only have a shadow of a crisis response plan ...view middle of the document...

"The [school] district has a good crisis plan, but that's not the problem. This couldn't have been avoided, even with the best crisis plan in the world," she said, noting more than 150 school district staff, faculty, and administration were trained yearly on what to do if an emergency should arise. "We never had anything of this magnitude." Regardless, all schools should have a plan, Hacker said, and all plans should encompass all sorts of possible crises. "You need to get to know your community resources and prescreen community people," she said. "[Schools] can't do it alone, that's why they have to prescreen and know who will help." A team effort School administrators and employees are many times the first to notice if a student is troubled, and it's important for any response plan to include a description of children who may be at-risk or capable of violent behavior, according to the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). The plan also should include step-by-step procedures to aid students who seem violent or feel alienated.However, CMHS officials said, any plan should have the full support of the local school board and families in the community. Plus, the plan should be compliant with federal, state, and local laws."There are many, many lessons that can be learned from these school shootings," Davidson said. "Low-level trauma that is cumulative, like bullying or being shunned - that leads children to feelings of not belonging - can lead to these major events." One of the ways the response plans can be created and initiated is by way of a response team that can oversee the preventive measures, and in some cases, coordinate a proper response following a tragedy, said Patricia Henderson, director of guidance for Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas.Oftentimes, a group that already works with the school administration or school board can add these duties to their workload; or, a new group can be formed. Nevertheless, everyone in the community should feel comfortable with the plan so they can have peace of mind knowing their school children are safe."I recommend a counselor and administrator sit down and develop a plan," Henderson said. "A team of leadership from the campus, including the counselors, need to meet and decide how to proceed. And, [the team] needs to keep the staff informed of facts of the matter." According to CMHS, a wide-array of leaders from all facets of the community should be involved with the implementation of a team and a response plan, including parent group leaders; law enforcement personnel; clergy; physicians and nurses; the media; attorneys, judges and probation officers; mental health and child welfare personnel; violence prevention group representatives; business leaders; family agency and family resource center staff; youth workers and volunteers; local elected and non-elected officials; recreation, cultural, and arts organizations staff; college or university faculty; members of local...

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