We have had 31 school shootings so far in 2021. The recent tragic events at Oxford High School will generate dialogue that can prevent school shootings. Going forward there are some things school personnel and mental health providers can do to prevent school shootings.
- Evaluate every child that threatens to harm another person to determine if the youth needs supports and services to help him/her to increase healthy behaviors and activities and reduce behaviors and activities that can be harmful to self or others.
- Build resiliency in every youth. Help build youth skills and successes.
- It is not legal for youth to have a firearm in school. If a youth threatens to harm others in school with a firearm, his belongings such as a backpack or locker can be searched for a firearm. Most schools have SRO’s to help with this or can call law enforcement.
- Any youth with problems related to behavior, mental health, suicidality, substance use, aggression, or family issues can be referred to and benefit from a behavioral health evaluation to determine if more supports and services are needed.
- School personnel that suspects that a youth is at risk of harm to self and others should be evaluated by a behavioral health professional using a validated risk assessment tool that recommends services that may be helpful.
- Suspension and expulsion are not sufficient to prevent at-risk youth from carrying out a violent act. Youth with severe behavior problems can often benefit from behavioral health services.
Please consider these options when concerned about a youth at risk to harm himself or another person.