Last month, A 17-year-old Texas student committed suicide in a high school courtyard. The student posted two Facebook updates that morning–one saying he was planning on committing suicide, and another with him pointing a gun at his head. In his message, he said, “I don’t know if this is going to affect people or if ya’ll are even going to care but I just want to say I’m taking my life away…”
A quote from another student after the shooting – “He said he was going through a lot of stuff. He put pictures up before he did it. Nobody believed him until he did it.”
What if just one of the students who saw the posts online or heard the victim talking about suicide earlier had contacted an adult or reported the behaviors to the school? Would this 17 year old still have a future?
Did you know 80% of school shooters told someone about their plan beforehand? Did you know that 80% of bullying is witnessed? And did you know that 80% of these incidents are NOT reported? Schools cannot continue to let these alarming trends go unnoticed. Why aren’t students sharing concerning behaviors and threats with you?
Below are 10 reasons your students may not be sharing this information with you:
2) Embarrassed in front of their peers
3) Not sure if the threats/concerns need to be reported
4) Don’t know how or where to report
5) Don’t trust their reports will be taken seriously; believe nothing will happen (as a side note, recent school surveys revealed that even when bullying was reported by students, 1/3 of the time, nothing happened – SCHOOLS – THIS IS NOT OKAY!)
6) Don’t want to be known as a ‘snitch’
7) Don’t trust administration/adults
8) Scared they will get in trouble/get mobile devices taken away
9) Feel it will make the situation worse
10) Red-tape/institutional barriers
44% of students are aware of a risk to their school! You can’t prevent what you don’t know about!!
So, what can schools do?
1) Empower and train bystanders to share all concerns
2) Make reporting simple, easy and ANONYMOUS
3) Ensure all Reports are Received Immediately
4) Ensure the Reports are Going to the RIGHT people
5) Track and document all reports
6) Ensure accountability and responsibility for responding to reports
7) Track all actions taken, intervention steps, etc.
8) Proactively respond/intervene to ensure situation does not escalate
9) Set reminders to follow-up/follow-through
10) Review incidents ongoing
To learn how leading school districts are taking the proactive steps above and ensuring an ongoing culture of safety and prevention, visit www.awareity.com/public/news.asp.