Prepared for the new school year? Aside from new pens, pencils, bookbags, tablets and more, are you sure you, your kids, or your school are fully prepared? Sadly, with shootings now an annual reality in today’s America, back-to-school prep also means learning to identify the signs of and taking action to prevent school violence.

In the last calendar year alone, or just one school year, “guns have been fired on K-12 campuses more than 250 times” across the country. Given the prevalence of gun violence and the availability of firearms throughout the United States, it’s no surprise. But if school shootings are increasingly a threat with many incidents following similar patterns, why aren’t more being prevented?

When one looks back and studies the tendencies of violent perpetrators, key markers emerge. Whether it’s in a school or in the workplace, violence doesn’t happen suddenly ­– instead there is an escalation, a time when one can see the eventual assailant was on a “pathway to violence.”

From Columbine, to Parkland, to Uvalde, the signs were there. Arrests, threats, disciplinary action, falling grades, and overt social media posts detailing violent acts or attack planning all serve as behavioral indicators of a would-be shooter on the pathway to violence. Yes, in some cases these signs are identified, but they aren’t always acted upon.

That’s why it’s critical that schools, students, and parents not only receive training for situational awareness to lock on to these patterns, but also that they’re prepared to apply that knowledge when the time comes. We know with a certainty that many of these incidents could’ve been thwarted if someone had acted on the signs; some were avoided because after many didn’t, one individual decided to take action. But too often a lack of belief in the possibility of an incident, a shortfall in institutional policy, or other ancillary agendas prevent quick, decisive action that can saves lives.

As we enter another school year, make sure you’re prepared to spot the signs of an individual on the pathway to violence, and the actions you can take to prevent another tragedy.

With education on run-hide-fight, behavioral indicators, situational awareness, active shooter training, conflict avoidance and verbal de-escalation, The Power of Preparedness can help get your staff and students ready. Contact us to learn more.