School Violence on a Dramatic Rise
We appear to be nearing the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as many experts agree, moving into the endemic phase where we will now live with Covid-19 in seasonal waves much like we do the flu. This is hopeful news to many, but the consequences of extended lockdowns and restrictions are beginning to show in schools across the nation. Violence and bad behavior in schools is at an all-time high and many educators believe this corresponds directly with a return to in-person education after all the lockdowns and remote learning.
According to the most recent EdWeek survey, 44% of all school and district leaders say they are receiving more threats of violence by students now than they did in the fall of 2019. More generally, two out of three teachers, principals, and district leaders say students are misbehaving more these days than they did in the fall of 2019.
What is Happening in Our Schools?
If you watch the nightly news, this likely comes as no surprise. The stories range from Tik Tok challenges to actual weapons being brought onto campuses, and everything in between and beyond. You may have even asked yourself, "What in the heck is going on"?The stories are everywhere. Teachers, education leaders, and students alike have been reporting an increase in threats and behavior issues since the start of the 2021-2022 school year. For many students, the start of this school year was their first return to the classroom in nearly 2 years. For others, there were hybrid models of education that switched between some in-person learning and some at home online learning. Even those kids who have been in-person 100% for a while have seen a massive disruption in what they consider "normal" school. Masks hiding smiling faces, garbled speech through masks, social distancing, forced quarantines, and more have thrown a wrench into what school used to look like and feel like for students. Many have really struggled.
EdWeek Research Center survey results suggest these struggles may be leading them to act out: Educators in districts where all or some of the instruction was provided online last school year are more likely to report that student threats and misbehavior have risen since 2019.
The Disruption Factor
Anecdotally, the EdWeek survey seems to suggest that the more the student body's educational life was disrupted away from "normal", the more likely it is that those districts are the ones seeing a significant rise in violent threats and disruptive behavior.
All this was brewing, and then the Oxford shooting happened. One might assume that a tragic event would have served to curtail the violent threats when exactly the opposite happened. The threats of violence have only gotten worse since that terrible day in Oxford, Michigan. Just before Christmas 2021, there were even Tik Tok hoax threats across the United States calling for a "National Shoot Up Your School Day" which had schools scrambling to evaluate the threats and respond accordingly.
There were 34 school shootings in 2021, 24 of which occurred after August, right in line with the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
The U.S. surgeon general even recently issued an advisory saying the pandemic has contributed to already rising numbers in anxiety, depression, and suicide rates among adolescents. The negative behavioral aspects are all lining up.
A Duty to Act
Schools across the nation are doing their level best to respond to all of these challenges. Some schools are doing better than others, but the general response has been heading in the right direction. What is most important is recognizing the trend and mobilizing to identify the issues, create solutions, and act immediately. We cannot wait for more incidents to happen before we move to keep kids safe in schools. As more and more documented evidence of issues is presented to us on a day-to-day basis, we become more and more aware of the threat. Being aware of the threat engages our duty of care. Failing to act on this duty with safety plans can result in accusations of negligence that can result in liability if an incident does occur at a school or organization.
The ASR Mission
Our mission at ASR Alert Systems is to save lives when these tragic events occur. Part of that mission involves evaluating each of our client's needs individually. We work diligently to:
- Educate the public about the active shooter epidemic that we face in our country.
- Educate the public about proactive solutions to stop the violence from happening in the first place.
- Provide tactical risk and vulnerability assessments.
- Provide active shooter training.
- Provide patented technology to expedite response times when an event occurs.
If you are interested in having your school speak with us, we are more than happy to help. For general questions, on the products and services we provide, please CONTACT US HERE. To schedule a virtual demonstration of our patented critical incident response technology, please fill out the form below.