Help stop school violence with this starter list of ideas. Some require only individual action; some require concerted effort. Some address immediate issues; others address the problems that cause violence. Consider this list a launching pad — there’s lots more that can be done. Check the resource section for places to contact for more ideas and help in carrying them out.

  1. Get to know students in non-confrontational settings. Help them see you as a mentor, peace keeper, and problem solver, not just as an enforcer.
  2. Develop a formal memorandum of understanding with the school about handling complaints, criminal events, and other calls for service. Volunteer to serve on the school’s Safe School planning team.
  3. Offer to train teachers, staff, and students in personal safety. Work with students to help present these trainings.
  4. Help students learn about the costs of violence to their community — financial, social, and physical. Link them with others in the community who are affected by violence to help them understand its lasting impacts.
  5. Provide accurate information about your state’s juvenile and criminal justice systems and what happens to youth who are arrested because they’ve been involved in violence. Explain also the kinds of help available to young people who are in distress or who are victims of crime.
  6. If you are qualified in crime prevention through environmental design offer to help school staff perform a security survey of the school building, identifying lighting needs, requirements for locks and other security devices, areas where physical changes to the building could increase safety, and needs for pruning or other landscaping changes. Share training opportunities through your department with school security personnel.
  7. Work to include school administrators, staff, and students in existing prevention action against gang weapons, and other threats.
  8. Consider starting a school resource officer program, in which law enforcement officers are assigned to schools to work with the students, provide expertise to teachers on subjects in which they are qualified, help address school problems that can lead to violence, provide personal safety training for students, and the like.
  9. Work with school attendance officers to identify truants and return them to school or to an alternate facility.
  10. Develop links with parents through parent-teacher associations and other groups; educate them on violence prevention strategies and help them understand the importance of their support.
  11. Work with community groups to put positive after-school activities in place throughout the community and for all ages.
  12. Together with principals and parents, start safe corridor programs and block parent programs to make the trip to and from school less worrisome for students. Help with efforts to identify and eliminate neighborhood trouble spots, using community policing and problem-solving principles.