Schools Open: Security, Character, Academics

September 5, 2018 Updated: September 7, 2018

As America begins a new school year, violence awareness and prevention are once again of paramount importance for the nation.

During the last five years, my weekly Epoch Times column has complimented over 20 years of my presentations and published works on school and campus violence.  These works have crystalized principles of safeguarding educational communities.

Protecting our educational communities, along with sound security principles, must integrate the critical preventive pedagogy for educators, character education, academic achievement, community collaboration, and law enforcement partnerships.

As schools open, we must remain vigilant to ensure that our educational communities are not only safe havens, but the heart of developing the character and academic excellence of America.

To this end, here is a summary from a brief collection of my works addressing issues critical to American schools and campuses. Since the collection is voluminous, dating back to Columbine in 1999, this summary is only from Epoch Times works over the last two years.

America School Violence Demands Moral Courage, May 24, 2018

The comments of Paige Curry, a Santa Fe student, during a television interview memorialize a heart-wrenching commentary on our school violence pandemic.

Shortly after being escorted safely out of Santa Fe High School, she told reporters that she struggled to overcome her fear by staying calm.

Responding to the 22nd school shooting in 2018, Paige stated “It’s been happening everywhere, I’ve always kind of felt that eventually it would happen here, too.”

America, listen to the heartbreak throughout the nation, the on-going repercussions of our head-on crisis of leadership and culture of violence collision.

America, wake-up, it is time for moral courage, ethical leadership, and the reawakening of the nation.

Mass Attacks in Public Spaces Demand America’s Vigilance, Apr. 5, 2018

The report from the United States Secret Service titled “The Final Report And Findings Of The Safe School Initiative: Implications For The Prevention Of School Attacks In The United States” is a timeless classic.

The document deserves to be studied in its entirety, but it highlights 10 key findings, which are as follows:

  • Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely were sudden, impulsive acts.
  • Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.
  • Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.
  • There is no accurate or useful “profile” of students who engaged in targeted school violence.
  • Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.
  • Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.
  • Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack.
  • Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack.
  • In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity.
  • Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.

Opinion: Student Walkout Is America’s Lesson of a Lifetime, March 15, 2018

America’s youth will no longer be silent in the face of glaciers of apathy that have frozen sensitivities, reason, and judgement.

The deafening silence of indifference after past tragedies that led to talk without action has now met a roaring response demanding resolve.

The voices of America’s youth are speaking out and their actions are inspiring the reawakening of the nation.

Five Preliminary Tips for Improving American School Security, Feb. 28, 2018

Schools must provide the leadership to instill a culture of character. Developing students with hearts of character built on the pillars of honesty, respect, civility, and patriotism must be paramount throughout America’s educational communities. Character is critical for transforming America and ending its culture of violence. Character education must be consistent, exemplified, and rewarded in our schools. Students must be inspired to realize that lives of character influence their schools, families, communities, and the very heart of the nation. A robust character education program is inseparable from the preventative system of education previously recommended.

American School Violence Requires a Response of Courage, Commitment, and Community, Feb. 2, 2018

The school resource officer (SRO) is a priceless component of violence prevention and character education for our schools. This community policing initiative affords the opportunity not only for violence prevention and education but also promotes a positive rapport between law enforcement and students. Schools should do everything possible to have an SRO program and law enforcement should be fully committed with the most qualified, trained, certified, and dedicated professionals available.

Other important elements for school security include board certified security directors, bullying prevention programs, crisis management teams, threat assessment teams, and updated emergency plans.

Carnage of Innocents in America Demands Moral Courage, Nov. 10, 2017 

As the Columbine tragedy fades from the list of America’s most deadly mass shootings, it has become solemnly verified that these tragedies not only continue, but have become more deadly.

Four of the five deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the last five years, and we continue to witness America’s flag lowered to half-staff.

America, the land of the free and home of the brave must not allow these mass shootings to define us. We must also refuse to allow apathy to rule our times. America must never accept an attempt to banish these tragedies to back page news.

It is time for America to wake-up, to be reawakened, and to stop the carnage of the innocents by igniting the only force that will change the tide, our moral courage.

School Bullying: A Matter of Life and Death, Sept. 1, 2016

Educators must familiarize themselves with the preventive system, not the repressive system, of education.

In my presentations on school violence prevention throughout the nation, as well as in numerous published works, I emphasize the importance of implementing this pedagogical system which includes the following:

  • Educators are admired in their dedication to the youth entrusted to their care
  • Educators are respected as individuals with character
  • Character is the edifice of the preventive system
  • Vigilance is exercised to prevent inappropriate behavior
  • Improvements in behavior are motivated
  • Speedy measured intervention in response to warning signs takes place due to vigilance and awareness
  • Educators earn the admiration of youth
  • Discipline can be as effective as an expression of disappointment or a reproachful look because there is loyalty from the young people to the educator who cares for them

America’s Schools: Security, Character, Academics, Aug. 25, 2016

One essential document is “Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools” by the U. S. Department of Education.

This classic, masterfully developed document, includes intervention for student warning signs including the following:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone
  • Being a victim of violence
  • Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
  • Low school interest/poor academic performance
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying
  • Expression of violence in writings
  • History of discipline problems
  • Past history of violent aggressive behavior
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Affiliation with gangs
  • Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes
  • Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
  • Serious threats of violence

Final Reflections

As schools open throughout America for another school year, we must be fully dedicated to security principles, character education, and academic excellence.

When we reflect visionary leadership, work collaboratively, and exercise vigilance with security concerns, inspire character through personal example, and encourage academic excellence, we will be on the path to reawakening the nation.

Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Reawakening America.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com, or twitter.com/vincentjbove

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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