National School Safety Center offers the following
checklist derived from tracking school-associated violent deaths in the United States from
July 1992 to the present. Follow this link to the School
Associated Violent Deaths Report. After studying common characteristics of
youngsters who have caused such deaths, NSSC has identified the following behaviors, which
could indicate a youths potential for harming him/herself or others.
Accounts of these tragic incidents repeatedly indicate that
in most cases, a troubled youth has demonstrated or has talked to others about problems
with bullying and feelings of isolation, anger, depression and frustration. While there is
no foolproof system for identifying potentially dangerous students who may harm themselves
and/or others, this checklist provides a starting point.
These characteristics should serve to alert
school administrators, teachers and support staff to address needs of troubled students
through meetings with parents, provision of school counseling, guidance and mentoring
services, as well as referrals to appropriate community health/social services and law
enforcement personnel. Further, such behavior should also provide an early warning signal
that safe school plans and crisis prevention/intervention procedures must be in place to
protect the health and safety of all school students and staff members so that schools
remain safe havens for learning.
- _______ Has a history of tantrums and
uncontrollable angry outbursts.
- _______ Characteristically resorts to name
calling, cursing or abusive language.
- _______ Habitually makes violent threats when
- _______ Has previously brought a weapon to
- _______ Has a background of serious
disciplinary problems at school and in the community.
- _______ Has a background of drug, alcohol or
other substance abuse or dependency.
- _______ Is on the fringe of his/her peer group
with few or no close friends.
- _______ Is preoccupied with weapons,
explosives or other incendiary devices.
- _______ Has previously been truant, suspended
or expelled from school.
- _______ Displays cruelty to animals.
- _______ Has little or no supervision and
support from parents or a caring adult.
- _______ Has witnessed or been a victim of
abuse or neglect in the home.
- _______ Has been bullied and/or bullies or
intimidates peers or younger children.
- _______ Tends to blame others for difficulties
and problems s/he causes her/himself.
- _______ Consistently prefers TV shows, movies
or music expressing violent themes and acts.
- _______ Prefers reading materials dealing with
violent themes, rituals and abuse.
- _______ Reflects anger, frustration and the
dark side of life in school essays or writing projects.
- _______ Is involved with a gang or an
antisocial group on the fringe of peer acceptance.
- _______ Is often depressed and/or has
significant mood swings.
- _______ Has threatened or attempted suicide.
Developed by the
National School Safety Center © 1998
Dr. Ronald D. Stephens, Executive Director
141 Duesenberg Dr., Suite 11, Westlake Village, CA 91362
Phone: (805) 373-9977; Fax: (805) 373-9277
PERMISSION TO REPRINT FOR
PROFESSIONAL PURPOSE AS LONG AS CREDIT IS GIVEN TO NSSC.
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