How to prevent tragedies from happening Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 20, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
How to prevent violence

The study showed that most parents have limited knowledge of what  works and doesn’t work in preventing these incidents.

Studies show that a total of 2,787 recorded firearm deaths occurred in 2015 among Americans younger than 19 years old, with 95 percent of homicides and suicides that year occurring off school grounds.

Yet school shootings are often highly publicized, creating incorrect perceptions of firearm risks in schools among both parents and school administrators.

In the Ball State study, parents believed the following school policies were most effective in reducing firearm violence: installing an alert system in schools; working with law enforcement to design an emergency response plan; creating a comprehensive security plan; requiring criminal background checks for all school personnel prior to hiring; and implementing an anonymous system for students to report peer concerns regarding potential violence.

These seem to be good suggestions on helping prevent school violence.

What do we do now?

Some other helpful ideas were voiced in an article published on the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) website at The article was written by Cari White, director of campus ministry at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.

She said students at her school were upset by the school shootings that happened in Texas this year. “We thought we were making progress since the tragedies in Parkland, Fla., as the national conversation on safety and gun issues has been occurring in earnest. And yet, we find ourselves in this spot again.”

The students asked, “What do we do now?”

The campus minister said the answers to this question are difficult, because this issue has political overtones, and every side argues loudly for their position without bothering to listen to each other.

Fostering dialogue

She suggested that the first solution might be to foster dialogue between different student groups. She said hosting a town hall or debate could provide an opportunity for students to not only express their ideas, but practice listening to each other.

“Only when we are able to start listening to each other and being willing to work together will real solutions be possible,” said White.

She said prayer is also important, and we can and should pray for all those affected by tragedies. But, she emphasized, we should help students “move from prayer into action.”

At a school prayer service, White asked students to make a pledge by answering this question: What will you do to prevent violence in the world and to show dignity to every human person?

These pledge cards were displayed in the main hallway of their school.

As we begin another school year, this is a great idea for schools to encourage students to consider how they can be part of the solution to prevent school violence.