Preventing school violence
School violence is any action or event likely to cause physical, emotional or psychological harm to students, making them feel unsafe at school.
School violence can include:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Bullying (including social media and cyberbullying)
- Use of weapons or threats
- Use of drugs
Such behaviours and actions affect the entire school.
Bullying is a major cause of school violence. If you witness bullying or are a victim of it, please report it immediately.
Preventing school violence
Random acts of violence in schools are uncommon. Usually there is a history or series of events that leads up to a violent act. Violence in school often stems from the following:
- Social media rumors and bullying - this often results in violence between those concerned.
- An individual being singled out and targeted by bullies. The victim is usually aware that the bully or bullies are going to make a point of pushing, shoving or otherwise acting in a violent manner toward them.
In both cases the violence can be predicted and prevented. Early reporting of school violence to staff and administration is essential to putting an end to violence in schools.
All school boards and schools have policies and procedures on student behaviour which deals directly with school safety and security. They are highlighted in the individual school's student handbooks and can be found on the school’s website. School polices require students to wear visible school identification and will outline fire drills and lockdown drills.
A school lockdown is a procedure which is initiated when school officials believe there is a credible threat to student and staff safety. Lockdowns are used to protect students from school shooters, bomb threats, and other forms of violence, but they can also be used when police are engaged in an operation nearby, or when a national disaster has been declared.
When a lockdown is ordered, people are told to stay inside their classrooms and lock the doors to prevent people from entering. Windows mist be shut, locked and covered with blinds to obscure visibility. People must sit on the floor at the designated lockdown area in the classroom and stay away from doors and windows. The goal of a school lockdown is to keep students and staff safe. It is important to comply with the lockdown for safety reasons.
Educating the students and parents, and counselling them on school expectations and the consequences of negative behaviour, plays a great role in deterring many acts of school violence. All staff are expected to respond firmly to behaviour which can harm people or property. School resource officers are available to students and staff for individual or group discussions on the topic of school safety and security, and school violence.