Starting the Conversation about School Violence

By: Deon Guillory Email
By: Deon Guillory Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- School leaders with experience preventing and dealing with violence in schools joined forces for a panel discussion.

The conversation touched on building peace after last month's Connecticut shootings and even Thursday's school shooting in California. The idea is to prevent violence by just taking the time to talk.

Shinji Kang is one of several parents on a school violence panel at James Madison University.

"We have to really evaluate the big picture and how we are as a community," said Kang.

Dr. Doug Alderfer, the assistant superintendent of Rockingham County Schools and Dr. Scott Kizner, the superintendent of Harrisonburg City Schools, are on that panel and they agreed with Kang.

"See problems coming down the pike, so we don't have to wait for something tragic to happen," said Alderfer.

"Building relationships, giving opportunities for people to express their ideas," said Kizner.

Educators say having an open conversation with your child lets them know its okay to express themselves, which makes it easier to transition for when they make it to a college.

The Virginia Tech shootings were also a part of the conversation.

The group wants to make sure tragedies are remembered and the "lets do something attitude" doesn't go away.

For Kang, forums like this help move conversations in the right direction.

"Opening up conversation, with more people, I think that's the very important first step, " said Kang.

Both Harrisonburg City Schools and Rockingham County Schools have task forces set up to see how to move forward and bring in the community to reduce the chances of another school shooting.


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