BEING SAFE IN YOUR CLASSROOM OR OFFICE

Prevention Strategies

1. Watch for signs of persons in crisis. At Student Development Services, you
can obtain a brochure “Students in Distress”, which identifies some
warning signs of persons in crisis and what to do if you see those signs, signs
of violence potential, and resource numbers if you have concerns about
behavior. Many of these behaviors apply to office and co-worker situations
as well. For employees, the C-SEAP program is available for workplace
issues at 1-800-821-8154 or 303-866-4314.

2. If you notice the signs and become concerned, don’t be afraid to ask the
student or co-worker about behavior affecting the classroom or office. If
you have concerns, and you are uncomfortable confronting them or your
talking to them hasn’t worked, please don’t remain silent, TALK to someone
else. You have the well-being of everyone in mind. Go to your supervisor,
department chair, advisor or student leader. If you need advice:
• contact Student Development and Academic Services if it’s a student,
• contact Human Resources if it’s an employee,
• or call the police non-emergency line.
We want to get help for those who may need it.

3. If the situation becomes threatening, report it immediately. A report to
the Dean of Students for a student, Human Resources for an employee, or
the Police will get the information to a multi-disciplinary team who can help
assess the threat.

There is no profile of persons who perpetrate violence or mass casualty
attacks. However, violence is a serious possibility if a number of these
behaviors are noted:
• Repeated loss of temper
• Physical disruption or fighting
• Vandalism or property damage
• Substance abuse and risk-taking behaviors
• Talking or writing about committing acts of violence
• Exhibiting a fascination with weapons, especially guns
• Isolating behavior, withdrawal from friends or activities
• A drop in work or school performance
• Failure to acknowledge the feelings or rights of others

4. As always, if the situation becomes physical or violent: Call 9-1-1!

Physical/Building Safety

1. Study your surroundings. Walk through the areas containing your office
and/or classroom. Ask yourself some questions: Where are the nearest exits?
Can your door be locked? What could you use for a barricade to keep
someone out? Do the windows open? Could you break them out?

2. Have a plan to use that information. Where would you run? How would
you hold a barricade? Would you live if you jumped out a window? Is there a
nearby door which can be locked? Research shows that people who have
prepared and thought about emergency situations have a much better
chance of survival if an incident occurs.

3. Talk with colleagues about your plans.



Know the Realities - Ten Myths about School Violence

1. “They didn’t fit the profile.” There are no demographic or
socioeconomic commonalities that form a “profile” for identifying those
who engage in avenger violence, rather there are behaviors that may
indicate a potential for violence.

2. “They just snapped.” Avenger violence is part of a continuum, a
recognizable and discernable process. Rarely is school violence an impulsive
act.

3. “No one knew.” Someone always knows something. Avengers always tell
someone about their idea, or send out “red flags” before the attack.

4. “They hadn’t threatened anyone.” There is too much emphasis placed
on threats. Many attackers do not “threaten”, but less explicit words or acts
can reveal an intention.

5. “He/she was a loner.” Many attackers were considered part of the
mainstream of school activities, while one quarter were in what could be
considered “fringe groups”; seldom were they “loners”.

6. “They were crazy.” Only one third of school attackers since 1966 had
ever seen a mental health professional; only one fifth had ever been
diagnosed with a mental disorder.


7. “If only we’d had a SWAT team or metal detectors.” Despite prompt
law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were over before a
SWAT team could have arrived. Metal detectors seldom deter those
committed to killing themselves and others.

8. They’d never touched a gun.” Most attackers had access to weapons
and had used them prior to the attack. Most acquired their guns from home.

9. “We did everything we could to help them.” Most attackers felt
bullied, persecuted or injured by others. Those who sought help either
didn’t get, or didn’t feel they got the help they needed.

10. “School violence is rampant.” While it may seem that way, according
to data from the U.S. Department of Education, the Census Bureau and the
FBI, “the murder rate on college campuses was 0.28 per 100,000, compared
with 5.5 per 100,000 nationally”. There are 12-20 homicides on 4,200
college campuses annually.*

*Source: “Safe School Initiative” conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and
the U.S. Secret Service.