A Dozen Things Principals Can Do to Stop School Violence
- Reward good behavior. Acknowledging students who do the right
thing, whether it's settling an argument without violence
or helping another student or apologizing for bumping into someone
helps set the tone for the whole school.
- Establish "zero tolerance" policies for weapons and violence. Spell
out penalties in advance. Adopt the motto "If it's illegal outside school,
it's illegal inside." Educate students, parents, and staff on policies
and penalties. Include a way for students to report anonymously crime-related
information that does not expose them to retaliation.
- Establish a faculty-student-staff committee to develop a Safe
School Plan. Invite law enforcement officers to be part of your
team. Policies and procedures for both day-to-day operations and
crisis handling should cover such subjects as identifying who
belongs in the building, avoiding accidents and incidents in corridors
and on school grounds, reporting weapons or concerns about them,
working in partnership with police, and following up to ensure
that troubled students get help.
- Work with juvenile justice authorities and law enforcement
officers on how violence, threats, potentially violent situations,
and other crimes will be handled. Meet regularly to review problems
and concerns. Develop a memorandum of understanding with law enforcement
on access to the school building, reporting of crimes, arrests,
and other key issues.
- Offer training in anger management, stress relief, mediation,
and related violence prevention skills to staff and teachers.
Help them identify ways to pass these skills along to students.
Make sure students are getting training.
- Involve every group within the school community — faculty,
professional staff, custodial staff, students, and others —
in setting up solutions to violence. Keep lines of communication
open to all kinds of student groups and cliques.
- Develop ways to make it easier for parents to be involved in
the lives of their students. Provide lists of volunteer opportunities;
ask parents to organize phone trees; hold events on weekends as
well as week nights. Offer child care for younger children.
- Work with community groups and law enforcement to create safe
corridors for travel to and from school; even older students will
stay home rather than face a bully or some other threat of violence.
Help with efforts to identify and eliminate neighborhood trouble
- Insist that your faculty and staff treat each other and students
the way they want to be treated — with respect, courtesy,
and thoughtfulness. Be the chief role model.
- Develop and sustain a network with health care, mental health,
counseling, and social work resources in your community. Make
sure that teachers, counselors, coaches, and other adults in the
school know how to connect a needy student with available resources.
- Ensure that students learn violence prevention techniques throughout
their school experience. Don't make it a one-time thing.
Infuse the training into an array of subjects. Draw from established,
tested curricula whenever possible.
- Consider establishing such policies as mandatory storage of
outerwear in lockers (to reduce chances of weapons concealment),
mesh or clear backpacks and duffle bags (to increase visibility
of contraband); and limited entry access to the building (to reduce
the number of inappropriate visitors).
Return to Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council