Woman Charged with School Assault Sentenced

School Assault

A mother of a student at Grover Elementary School in Akron was sentenced for a school assault.  Last February, the mom reportedly got into an argument with a teacher and the principal.  She reportedly began cursing at them, pushed the teacher, then knocked the principal to the ground.  The principal allegedly hit her head in the fall. When a cafeteria worker attempted to intervene, the mother was alleged to have punched her.  The school was placed in a lockdown, and the police were called.

The mother has been sentenced to fourteen months in jail for fifth-degree felony assault, and misdemeanor assault.

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School Assault Analysis

A quick look on the Internet did not find definitive statistics on the number of teachers assaulted by parents.  There are statistics for school assaults against teachers by students.  The U.S. Department of Education reported that in the 2007-2008 school year, 127,120 (4 percent) public school teachers (K-12) were assaulted at school—hit, kicked, bitten, slapped, stabbed or shot.  In the same school year, 222,460 teachers (7 percent) were threatened by students.

Suffice to say, teachers are a target for those upset with the educational system.  What has been lost is the ability to discuss issues without resorting to physical or verbal violence.  Since teachers are authority figures, it is easier for them to become the focal point of frustration for both students and parents.

So what do schools do?

Like everything else related to school safety, school assault prevention requires planning and follow through.  What training have your teachers been given in de-escalation techniques?  What training have they been given to identify when a person is building up to an outburst?  Schools should identify appropriate places for people to meet with parents, places with safe areas to retreat to should an outburst occur.

Of course, the best technique is one that should be used with the children, building a relationship with the parents of trust and open communication.  Knowing the parent can help identify points of contention, and can provide a baseline of trust with which to address conflict.  It is not a cure all, but it can curtail the incidents of school assaults.

Schools should be safe for everyone.

School Bus Driver Ambushed and Hijacked

School Bus Driver Ambushed

In Baltimore, a group of teens, all under the age of 16, boarded a school bus and allegedly began throwing things at the school bus driver.  When he said he was going to call 911, they reportedly began assaulting him.  They then drove off in the bus.  The teens allegedly drove around the block and then parked it.

The school bus driver reportedly received minor injuries, and the police have three of the suspects in custody.  Fortunately, there was no one else on the bus at the time of the hijacking.

A Type D school bus.

Analysis

School bus safety should be a primary concern of schools.  In a recently released study, school transportation-related deaths are the leading cause of death in K-12 schools.  To keep things in perspective, however, school transportation-related crashes account for less than one-half of one percent of all crashes in the US.  However, during a fifteen-year period from 1998 through 2012, the number of people who died in school transportation-related crashes are more than eight times the number of people killed in Active Shooter Incidents in the same period.

Apart from the bus crashes, school buses are soft targets.  Buses are difficult to secure, and there have been numerous instances in which unwanted people have boarded the bus, the most noteworthy being the fatal incident in Alabama.  So what are school bus drivers to do?

The primary weapon the school bus driver has is awareness, which can lead to avoidance.  When driving a route you have driven numerous times before, it is easy to become complacent, and not pay attention to what is going on at and around bus stops, and along the route.  School bus drivers can overcome this by reminding themselves everyday of the preciousness of their cargo. School bus drivers are in a unique position to notice something out of the ordinary.

Practicing the tenets of Permission to Live, if a driver feels that something is wrong at a bus stop, they should kick up their perceptions, and decide whether to stop, or drive by and continue to monitor.  At this point the school bus driver has to weigh the safety of the children at the stop with the safety of the children already on the bus.  This decision is best thought out ahead of time, even set into policy.

For a look at how school buses have ben used in terror attacks around the world, read Innocent Targets.

Bristol School Safety Subject of Parent Email

Bristol School Safety

In light of recent threats on various campuses, the city’s superintendent sent an email top his stakeholders, outlining the various measures the district was taking to maintain Bristol school safety.

These measures included increased police surveillance, video camera surveillance, established evacuation and lockdown procedures, locked entrances at all schools, safety officials and services in each building, assemblies and meetings to discuss safety and security, mandatory sign-in and out procedures for students, and the mandated use of staff ID badges and student passes.

Bristol Schools received 8 threats in an 10 day period. An arrest was made of three students, a 13-year old and two 10-year olds for one of the more recent threats.

Analysis

It appears that the superintendent is taking the correct steps in addressing the situation, including communicating with his stakeholders on the nature of the problem, and the steps the schools are taking to address the issue.  It also seems that there is good coordination between the schools and first responders.

When the issue has been resolved, it would do the schools well to examine their climates and cultures.  There may be nothing wrong with the climates in their schools, but something has led to this rash of threats.  Whether it is a student feeling a sense of injustice, or trying to get out of classes at the end of the year, the school should try to identify the causes and address them, or they may find themselves facing this situation again.

Anytime there is a school safety issue in a school, take immediate steps to remedy the symptoms, but don’t forget to analyze the issue and identify the root cause.  This often requires taking an honest look at yourself, and so people often avoid this step.  Don’t.  The safety of children is no place for bruised egos.