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By Dr. Harry Tennant

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Do you have concerns about a student?

When a student has misbehaved, we often create an office referral. Consequences may be assigned.

But what if you just have concerns about a student? What if he or she hasn't done anything wrong but you're worried that there may be serious issues under the surface? In School Safety Manager we call these "concerns."

In the days before Thanksgiving break in 1997 a 14-year old student at Heath High School told a number of other students that "something big is going to happen on Monday." As far as anyone knew, he hadn't done anything wrong, but this was an odd and chilling thing to hear. It might have registered as concerning. It might have been worth telling a teacher, counselor or administrator. None of the students who heard it bothered to notify any of the adults in the school.

What they didn't know was that this student had been stealing weapons and ammunition for the past several weeks. Four .22 rifles, a 30-30 rifle, a .22 pistol and two shotguns. Something big did happen on Monday, December 1, 1997. When he got to school he shot into a prayer group killing three girls and wounding five other students. He then dropped his gun and surrendered to the school principal. He said, "Kill me, please. I don't know why I did that." The entire incident had taken place in less than 10 minues.

School shooters almost always reveal their plans before they carry them out. Most commonly, the people they tell are fellow students.

If a shooting like this is to be prevented, there must be a way to register "concerns" like the chilling warning about Monday. Counselors, administrators and law enforcement must be ready to look into concerns, especially those that suggest violence. Also, students must be convinced that they have a duty to warn if a student seems to be making a threat or hinting at imminent violence.

Could registering a concern have lead to preventing three murdered girls, five wounded kids and a lingering loss of the feeling of safety and security at Heath High School? Maybe so.


Edclick's School Safety Manager helps identify kids in distress and provide support.

Posted at 12:00 AM Keywords: School Safety Manager , prevention , school violence 0 Comments

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