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Keys To Safer

P.O. Box 296
Bryant, AR  72089-0296
"toll free" (800)504-7355


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How to Recognize an Unsafe School


Let's Stop the violence! 

    See how KEYS can help!!

"School Shooting Map

School Violence Erupts in Jan & Feb 2002The first thing to note is that schools are safe places for children and adults. Statistically, people are safer at school than most other environments they will encounter. Yet, tragic things happen without reason or justification on school grounds across the United States. Why does this happen at some schools and not at others? Are some schools prone to violence by some mystical design or by unintentional actions of Administrations, Parents or Students? What we find is that violence can happen anywhere and the school that is not prepared to manage or handle it is an unsafe school. Listed below are some thought provoking ideas to help in finding the unsafe school. (See "Checklist of a Safe School")

  1. Attitude: It can never happen here.
    This is the most common of all characteristics of the unsafe school. When those who are responsible rest on the premise that their school is so close knit and everyone loves everyone too much to hurt someone else or we just don't need it here. Because of these believes they fail to prepare and become the unsafe school where you might hear someone say; "I never thought it could happen here!"

    1. No conscious effort at prevention
    2. Homeland Security is only important to those schools in New York, not us.
    3. Lack of desire for input from community leaders, parents and students
    4. No plan, or
    1. A canned, one-size-fits-all plan from an out of state source

    2. Written years ago and not been read since

    3. Its on file but no one has seen it

    4. Everyone knows about it but it has never been exercised

    1. No formal survey of the site
    1. Number of doors
    2. Vulnerability to attacks similar to known incidents
    3. Location of all keys
    4. Location of the power, gas and water switches
    5. Visitors, vendors, contractors access practices
  1. Lack of a Action Response Team
    1. No written and posted Response Team roster reflecting name and position

    2. Lacking a list of responders who should be in charge of students

    3. Inappropriately assigning personnel with no regard to their personality, capabilities and limitation. It does not match the contingency

    4. No rehearsals or practice

  1. Lack of Certified Key Personnel (or lack of knowledge as to who they are) CPR and First Aid
    1. Management of Angry or violent students
    2. Identification and assessment of the Potentially Dangerous Student
    3. Emergency Management & Crisis Intervention
    4. Law Enforcement (School Resource Officers)
    5. Preparing for Terrorism and Homeland Security
  1. Missing Programs for staff, students and parents
    1. Learning to accept self and others

    2. Observing the Early Warning Signs of violence in students & staff - Potentially Dangerous Student Training

    3. Anger Management

    4. Conflict Resolution

    5. Bullying

    6. Dress Code Issues

    7. Mentoring

    8. Buddy System characteristic

  1. Failure to Enlist students in appropriate reporting
    1. Responsible reporting vs. tattle-tailing
    2. Hot line
    3. Suggestion Boxes
    4. Emailing anonymously
  1. Lack of Team Building with Parents
    1. Develop sense of ownership S.A.F.E Chapters
    2. Locking Out Violence Everyday rather than locking in the students.

    3. Seek their help and input, both policy and practice
  1. Now What?

Hire a consultant.
If the school could do it without help, the above would already be in place.


Once again we ask ourselves, "Have we done all that we can to insure the safety of our schools?" Keys To Safer is making a special offer to any school to review your crisis planning and provide a written critique of any shortcomings found. To take advantage of this offer, mail your school’s Crisis Plan and supporting documents to:

Keys To Safer
P.O. Box 296
Bryant, AR 72089-0296.

Visit the Keys website for valuable information and resource material on school violence prevention at

Programs to Combat Violence

Reported By:
Frank Green
Keys To Safer

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