Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Looking for Red Flags


          Whenever something serious is going to happen, someone beside the potential perpetrator knows about it. In 81% of school shootings, someone knew it was going to happen before it happened.

These “red flags” may come from comments on the internet, or the actions of an individual.. This is not an easy task. It is difficult to read minds but it is possible to read body language, listen carefully to spoken words to understand the actions of a child in trouble.

It is essential for all educators to develop a rapport with their students.  If educators have a good rapport with student’s they will immediately take action. Of course there are times when discipline is necessary but if you have that rapport, even discipline is more effective.  Explain to students when they see dangerous words on social media, they may save lives by informing the proper school staff and their names will be kept confidential.  

Utilizing the school psychologist, the social worker and a consulting psychiatrist from a local hospital, parents and educators can be taught how to look for “red Flags” when they show up. Often these “red flags” will be subtle and difficult to discern.  Here are some recognizable warning signs:

    1. The most notable warning signs are when students become isolated. It is the nature of children to belong to a group. If they avoid groups and even friends, they would be worth watching.

     2. Additional signs might include fantasies of violence, or acting out violence. This will be difficult to determine as today’s video games utilize violence on a regular basis. When observing those acts it would be valuable to see if they were connected to a specific game. If that is problematic, simply ask the student what game they are emulating. If they don’t respond, pass that information on to the school psychologist or social worker. In this school the roles of the support team may change from those of past years

    3. Violence toward animals, even pets, if noticed near school or at home is an indicator of more problems to come.

    4. Changes in academic performance. The lack of focus on academics as well as projects may be an indicator of a potential crisis.

    5. Getting in to fights or other forms of aggresion must be monitored and dealt with in a way that will bring forth deep seeded information.

          Psychologist’s and social workers are  qualified, as therapists, to take caseloads for counseling. It is essential for the school to team with a local hospital that will provide the services of a consulting psychiatrist to meet with an administrator and the therapists on a monthly basis. This will allow for a discussion of students in need as well as general issues facing the school.

It is essential to bring in professionals in the area of mental health to present red flag information to school staff as well as parents.  There are always signs of potential violence and these might show up anywhere.  Once they are recognized, action MUST follow. These warning signs won't always lead to violence, however, when they are recognized, more observation followed by therapy would be essential to curbing school violence.  Therapy might help turn som eone around, but at the very least, school staff will be alerted. Therapists must be prepared to recognize severe problems and take action. There is a point where the school action isn't sufficient. Police, then must be immediately involved and the student kept out of the school.

These are jumping off points to slow or stop violence in schools.  Here are some other pros and cons:

1.  Background checks will help to an extent.  However, be aware that those with mental health problems are good at "masking" their behaviors.

2. There is absolutely no reason to allow anyone to carry a gun in public.  If only criminals had a gun they would be identifiable.  A gun in hand means jail or death. Even now officers don't have time to check a "rght to carry card"  DUH!

3.  Devise "safe paths" for children who walked to school utilizing families and business to come out at the start and end of the school day.  

4.  At the beginning of the school day, have security, teachers and administrators in front of the building.

5.  Secure every possible entrance to the building allowing only one legitimate entance that is locked during the school day with a staff member monitoring it.

6.  All classrooms are to be locked.

7.  Security plans are in place.


Ah yes, save our freedom to murder?

There are many more that would be available for some schools.  Security cameras, drones etc.  Let nothing stand in the way of the safety of the children.

Cap Lee was an adminstrator of an alternative school that servesd not only students with behavior problems, but  those with psychiactric  problems. In a public school setting he worked with 5 therapists and a consulting psychiatrist with a student population of 75.

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