Dealing with School Violence

By: Lauren McKay
By: Lauren McKay

If your child brings a gun to school, even if it's fake, most Valley school systems will expell, but some say there needs to be a different approach. "We're so concerned about the possibility of a homicide which is extremely unlikely that we are overreacting to normal student disciplinary problems," says Clinical Psychologist Dr. Dewey Cornell. He has spent years studying school violence. He says disciplinary problems and threats in the classroom are declining. "We hear about school shootings whenever they take place and that creates the perception that they're very likely to occur," says Cornell. Compare the number of school shootings we've had over a 10 year period and the number of schools in the United States. "The average school can expect a student to come in, commit a shooting, once every 12,000 years. Our research has shown that most students that make threatening statements don't really mean to carry out the threat," says Cornell. He says handling threats on a case-by-case basis just makes more sense. "We're too likely to think that that child might be a potential killer, rather than recognizing that probably he's just angry and upset and needs a more appropriate way to behave," says Cornell. Cornell told Valley Educators to look carefully at each threat and at what a student said and meant. He says have a plan of action for each individual circumstance.


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