School Safety

Preventing and Responding to School Violence

- Jim Hurley, Chief of Police

In light of the tragic developments at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and similar incidents involving violence and murder in our schools, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) vowed to facilitate the development of a more comprehensive approach to this disturbing social phenomenon. In 1999 a nationwide panel was selected and regional focus groups were tasked with creating a practical manual that offers a systematic approach for creating, evaluating and bolstering programs designed to reduce the threat of violence on school campuses. I was proud to serve as the southeast regional coordinator on this project.

It is agreed that many things can be done to prevent school violence, but there are no simple solutions. The experts believe that educators must continually collaborate with law enforcement to design effective prevention programs, highlighting early intervention, anger management and conflict resolution, social and cultural tolerance, access to weapons on school campuses, and viable strategies for neutralizing potential threats, to name only a few important areas of concern.

After the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech, the IACP combined much of their research material concerning school violence in reference format, which can be accessed at the IACP Prevention and Response to School Violence Page.