A Plan to Keep Schools Safe
1) Using whatever identification means your school has, instigate a plan to observe students who are habitual offenders, or who tend to get in trouble regularly for bullying and other aggressive behaviors.
2) Identify victims of bullying and make sure they are protected from potential bullies. Often victims will not report the incidents, for fear of retaliation. Work on keeping a watch on students who have been victims of bullies in the past, and have the counselor or other support staff check on them from time to time. The students will appreciate being looked after, as long as it is done privately, and it is the fastest way to find out if aggressive students are bullying kids or have targets picked out.
3) Make sure your school intervention and crisis plan is up-to-date. Having quarterly or annual meetings about your school crisis plan is important to keep an eye on the happenings of your school. It is also critical that staff members and the community know their responsibilities in a crisis and can locate the plan easily when needed.
4) Connect to local law enforcement and other agencies of help. Having an open line of communication to relevant agencies is important both in a crisis situation and to contact in the event a student needs help. There are plenty of outside agencies ready and willing to offer help for both the victim and the offender of potential violent or aggressive scenarios.
5) Finally, getting the school to “buy into" the plan is of utmost importance in order to get everyone on the same page. Education about bullying, violent behaviors, and legal responsibilities is critical too. Connecting to agencies when needed, for education, training, and support is something all school can do too. Counselors should take a leadership role in keeping schools safe and it should be the top priority of every school across America. Whatever it takes to get and keep kids safe should be the fabric that all schools today are built around.