School violence is a tragic reality that Americans must deal with in this day and age, as this article in the Denver Post reminds us yet again: Arapahoe High School officials mum on threat level posed by shooter – The Denver Post. Sadly, those of us who live in and love Colorado have experienced too much of this. This latest shooting at Arapahoe High School has been devastating to the students, parents and community.
Parents and children often feel powerless to do anything about this problem, but nothing can be further from the truth. The first line of defense against school violence is always the people who are closest to students who are planning attacks.
Parents who suspect their children are considering an act of violence against the school must act immediately. I’ve worked with several families of students who have made various threats against a school. Luckily, none of these students acted on their threats. Equally as important is that their parents of such students recognized that there was a problem in the life of their child, and they dealt with it. A student does not decide out of nowhere to do harm to other students. Rather, such conduct often is a reaction to years of bullying, a mental health problem or an unhappy home life. All of those things can and should be addressed.
Other students are especially important. Kids will share many of their deepest thoughts and emotions with other kids — even when they’re unwilling to share with adults. When students hear another make a threat, they absolutely must take it seriously. They should immediately report the threat to another adult. They could even do so anonymously through a Colorado program called safe2tell.