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De-escalating Potential VerbalPhysical Violence and Personal Safety


De-escalating Potential Verbal\Physical Violence and Personal Safety Karl R. Boland, Director The Center for Safe and Secure Schools Harris County Department of Education – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: De-escalating Potential VerbalPhysical Violence and Personal Safety

De-escalating Potential Verbal\Physical
Violence and Personal Safety
  • Karl R. Boland, Director
  • The Center for Safe and Secure Schools
  • Harris County Department of Education
  • 6300 Irvington Blvd. Houston, TX 77022
  • Phone 713-696-0770 Toll Free 1-866-713-2343

Different World
  • 1910 Classroom

Different World
  • 1916 Norwich Academy (High School)

Different World
  • 1920 Dawson School, Dawson, Navarro Co. TX

  • 1939 Memorial School

The famous Dick and Jane books that taught
millions of children to read were first published
in 1931.
  • 1940-41 Seymore School , Seymore Texas

Different World
  • 1951 Hillsborough Elementary School

Different World
  • 1960s Porter, Minnesota

  • 1970 Alief Elementary

Different World
  • 1980

Is Todays School World So Different?
  • Maybe Not So Different (Duck and Cover 1960s)

Definition of Violence
  • Violence is a general term to describe actions,
    usually deliberate, that cause or intend to cause
    injury to people, animals, or non-living objects.
    Violence is often associated with aggression.
    There are essentially two kinds of violence
    random violence, which describes small-scale acts
    of random or targeted violence, and coordinated
    violence, which describes actions carried out by
    sanctioned or unsanctioned violent groups, such
    as war and terrorism.

Survey of Top School Problems
Survey of Top School Problems
Hoax discovered by Professor Barry ONeill, The
School Administrator, 51, 8-11, 1994. T. Cullen
Davis, Texas Oil Businessman, invented the lists
in 1981 They werent done from a scientific
survey. How did I know what the offenses in the
schools were in 1940? I was there. How do I know
what they are now? I read the newspapers.
What Two Significant Events Led To Us Being Here
  • Columbine High School on April 19, 1999

Columbine Students
Columbine Students April 19, 1999.
Columbine High School Shootings
  • April 20, 1999. Littleton, Colorado, Columbine
    High School in the most violent public school
    shooting incident in U.S. history two students,
    17 and 18 years old, fired more than 1,000 rounds
    of ammunition and detonated 30 explosive devices
    during their rampage. 12 people were killed 24
    students were injured, some of them critically,
    160 patients had to be triaged, and more than
    2,000 people were evacuated during the shooting.
    In the aftermath of the violence more than 60
    other live explosives were found in and around
    the school.

Columbine High School Shooting
  • The School Shooting Tragedy at Columbine High
    School on April 20, 1999.

Columbine Students and Staff
  • 12 Students and 1staff member died during the
    Columbine tragedy.

Safe At Home
  • World Trade Center Twin Towers September 10, 2001.

The World Changes
  • The World Trade Center Twin Towers on September
    11, 2001

Where are you safe?
October 1, 2006 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Amish School House Shooting
32-year old Charles Carl Roberts enters the
school with evil intent and as police storm the
building he shoots and kills 5 girls, ages 7-13
and wounds 5 more before killing himself
  • October 2, 2006 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Delaware State University
  • Two wounded September 2007

A Time Line of Recent Worldwide School Shootings
A Time Line of Recent Worldwide School Shootings
School homicides are increasing?
Who Is To Blame?
School shootings and other forms of school
violence are not just a schools problem or a law
enforcement problem. They involve schools,
families, and the communities. An adolescent
comes to school with a collective life
experience, both positive and negative, shaped by
the environments of family, school, peers,
community, and culture. National Center for
Analysis of Violent Crime
Why pay attention to student appearance?
When Seconds Count!
  • When seconds count!

What If ?
  • Have you thought how you would react if you where
    one of the staff in this incident?
  • How would you attempt to control the student use
    of cell phones during this event?
  • If your office notification method/device did not
    function, how could you communicate with the

Who is responsible for school safety?
  • Central Administration
  • Local Administration
  • Campus Police or Security
  • Other Teachers
  • YOU

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

What stressors can contribute to young children
becoming violent?
  • A variety of social and economic factors can
    contribute to violent and aggressive behavior by
    children at home, in school, and in the
    community. In cases of workplace violence, we
    tend to look at the offenders to identify what
    "stressors" lead them to committing violent acts.
     Ironically, we tend not to look at our juvenile
    population from the same perspective,
    particularly in terms of thinking about
    prevention and "early recognition" or warning

Stressors Might Include
  • Physical, psychological, and/or emotional
    abandonment by parents, adults, and significant
  •  Domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and/or other
    severe family stress or dysfunction
  •  Lack of order, structure, and discipline
  •  Self-concept formation, peer pressure, need to
    protect reputation, and related developmental
  •  Alcohol, drug, and similar influences
  •  Gang, cult, or other deviant subculture
  •  Pressure to succeed academically
  •  Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, and fear
    of failure

How can parents, school officials, and other
concerned adults best help children?
  • Establishing ongoing, sincere, and trusting
    relationships with youth built upon regular,
    quality communications
  • Being sensitive to the stressors influencing
    children and providing timely intervention
  • Being alert for, and promptly responding to,
    issues such as
  •                       Detachment  A lack of
    bonding and "connectedness" to others
  •                       Threats --- and the efforts
    to establish the means and opportunity
    to carry
    out the threats
  •                  Disciplinary problems in
    school and/or delinquent, criminal activity

    in schools or communities
  •               Unusual interest or
    preoccupation with weapons, bombs, and

    violent forms of "entertainment"
  •                      Abuse of animals, suicide
    threats or attempts, self-mutilation, etc.
  • Talk to children honestly and, if necessary, seek
    professional help BEFORE a crisis!

What can I do?
  • Be observant
  • Watch students
  • Listen to students (Keeping in mind your
    professional obligations.)
  • Have a hall partner, (Class Change)
  • Be on time for duties
  • Help Line

What can I do?
  • Help Line available 24/7
  • 1-800-418-6423 ext 359 Reports can be made via
    the web at http//

Texas Penal Code Criminal Trespass
30.05. CRIMINAL TRESPASS. (a) A person commits
an offense if he enters or remains on or in
property, including an aircraft or other vehicle,
of another without effective consent or he enters
or remains in a building of another without
effective consent and he (1) had notice that the
entry was forbidden or (2) received notice to
depart but failed to do so. (b) For purposes of
this section (1) "Entry" means the intrusion of
the entire body. (2) "Notice" means (A) oral
or written communication by the owner or someone
with apparent authority to act for the owner (B)
fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to
exclude intruders or to contain livestock (C) a
sign or signs posted on the property or at the
entrance to the building, reasonably likely to
come to the attention of intruders, indicating
that entry is forbidden (D) the placement of
identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts
on the property, provided that the marks are
Texas Education Code - Trespass
unauthorized person who trespasses on the grounds
of any school district of this state commits an
offense. An offense under this section is a Class
C misdemeanor.
Approaching Strangers
  • Observe for visitor badge
  • Identify self and offer assistance
  • If no visitor badge visible
  • Indicate that you will accompany visitor to
    office so that he/she can sign-in and acquire a
  • Walk beside or slightly behind.
  • If they refuse send for help and observe
    individual. (No physical Contact is appropriate.)
  • Note anything out of ordinary.
  • Physically hand-off to office personnel.

Who would you stop?
Notorious Killers
September 27, 2006. 53-year-old1 Duane Roger
Morrison entered the school building, claiming to
be carrying a bomb. He was initially reported as
a bearded 35-year-old man with a camouflage
backpack2 and dark hooded sweatshirt.3
Morrison took six female students hostage and
sexually assaulted them, later releasing four.
When police entered the classroom, Morrison
opened fire before shooting hostage Emily Keyes
in the head. The other remaining hostage escaped
unharmed, and paramedics confirmed that Morrison
had committed suicide. Keyes was pronounced dead
at 432 p.m. MDT (2332 UTC) at Saint Anthony's
Hospital in Denver, Colorado after undergoing
emergency surgery.4
Theodore Robert 'Ted' Bundy (November 24, 1946
January 24, 1989) is one of the most infamous
serial killers in U.S. history. Bundy raped and
murdered scores of young women across the United
States between 1974 and 1978. After more than a
decade of vigorous denials, Bundy eventually
confessed to 30 murders, although the actual
total of victims remains unknown. Typically,
Bundy would rape then murder his victims by
bludgeoning, and sometimes by strangulation. He
also engaged in necrophilia. In stark contrast to
the brutality of his crimes, Bundy was frequently
described as educated and charming. His friends
and acquaintances would remember him as a
handsome and articulate young man.
Tools And Strategies To Prevent or De-escalate
  • Non-Verbal Warning Signs
  • Body Language Cues
  • Verbal Threats
  • Classroom Conflicts
  • Fights
  • Parents or Visitors.
  • Threat Assessments

Non-Verbal Warning Signs
  • The Stare
  • Clinched Fists
  • Body Stance
  • Breathing
  • Color (flush)
  • Movement toward individual of interest

Body Language Cues
  • Poor Eye Contact.... Dishonest,
    closed, unconcerned, nervous
  • Sitting Back in Chair.. Uninterested,
    unenthusiastic, unconcerned, uncooperative
  • Standing, Weight on Back Leg Same as
    Sitting Back in Chair
  • Arms Crossed on Chest Uninterested,
    unconcerned, defiant, not listening,
    impatient, stubborn, defensive
  • Rocking Movements... Nervous, lack of
    self confidence
  • Frequent Hand-to-Face Contact.. Dishonest,
    deceitful, nervous
  • Touching and/or Rubbing Nose/Eyes. Doubt,
    disagreement, nervous deceitful
  • Hidden Hands...... Deceptive, guilty,
  • Pencil/Pen Chewing... Lack of self
    confidence, doubt
  • Jingling Pocket Change Nervous, lack of
    self confidence or control, deceitful
  • Drumming Table/Tapping Feet Nervous,
    hostile, impatience, anxiety, boredom
  • Head in Hand Boredom
  • Locked Ankles. Apprehensive,
    deceitful, nervous
  • Crossed Legs.. Defensive, closed
  • Palm to Back of Neck Frustration,
    anger, irritation, hostility
  • Slumping Posture . Nervous, poor self
  • Frequent Blinking . Nervous,
    deceitful, inattentive
  • Raising Voice. Nervous, deceitful,

Verbal Threats
  • Threats should not be ignored. However, if
    possible do not exhibit outward signs of fear.
    The threatening individual usually looks at the
    person they have threatened carefully for traces
    of fear or shock.
  • If possible attempt to depersonalize threatening
  • Steps should be taken to protect oneself, such as
    attempting to isolate the threatening individual
    or calling in additional staff and security.
  • After a serious threat is made, an immediate
    notice should be sent out to all school
    administrators, school security personnel,
    teachers, etc. about the specific threat and the
    schools response to the threat.
  • After a student has made a serious threat,
    special security checks should be required any
    time the student enters school campus. Friends of
    the student may also need to under go security
  • Publicize to students the penalties for making a
    threat. Students must understand the seriousness
    of making threats and the consequences that will
    be implemented when a threat is made.
  • Utilize the buddy system which attempts to
    prevent assaults on campus.

Classroom Conflict
  • Do not raise your voice.
  • Attempt to remain calm and rational.
  • Do not touch an agitated or angry student.
    (touching may escalate conflict)
  • Be aware of students personal space and do not
    invade it if possible.
  • In general, try to have the student remain seated
    to attempt to correct the students behavior. If
    students inappropriate behavior continues, have
    the student step into the hall away from the
    general view of the class. (If student refuses to
    comply and leave the room, remove other students
    from class room and seek assistance.) Otherwise,
    position yourself in door way to view both class
    and student.
  • Attempt to speak to the student privately to
    resolve the issue.
  • If needed, send another student for help. The
    student should be told to go to the nearest
    office or classroom to summon assistance from the

Handling Fights
  • Do not physically get in the middle of a fight or
    try to restrain fighters.
  • If possible disperse student spectators away from
    the fight.
  • Use your best authoritative, loud voice to let
    the fighters know you are there and you want the
    fight to end immediately.
  • You may use commands such as "Break it up. Stop
    right there. Everyone back off. Move away from
    each other, now!"
  • If you know the names of the fighters, call them
    by name.
  • Take time to analyze the fight. You need to know
    if the fight just began, is it winding down, who
    is the aggressor, etc.
  • Obtain additional help from other teachers to
    stop the fight.

Guidelines for Dealing with Agitated Parents
  • The parent was already upset--
  • Steer the parent to a safe placean office area
    with witnesses.
  • Do not give him/her the impression that you can
    resolve the concern stay neutral, but listen
  • Demonstrate empathy and allow the parent
  • Maintain neutrality and let him/her know that
    he/she has been heard.
  • Plan for a method to obtain assistance if

Guidelines for Dealing with Agitated Parents
  • The parent was asked to come for a conference--
  • Arrange a meeting location with administrative or
    counseling staff present.
  • Forewarn staff of a potential difficult
  • Remember a parent might feel threatened and
    perceive that something is either wrong with
    him/her or him/her child.
  • A parent might be defensive be prepared, plan
    and rehearse what to say and how to say it.
  • Maintain control of your emotions and present a
    professional demeanor.
  • If you feel threatened, stop the conference and
    indicate that it will be rescheduled for a later

Front Office Dealing With Agitated Parents
  • Maintain a calm voice and demeanor.
  • Be civil and polite use a normal voice. Let me
    find someone who can help you.
  • Call for another adult
  • Observe the individual
  • Keep your face front to individual.
  • To end the encounter and redirect the individual
    use Let me get your name and number and I will
    have _____ contact you.

Threat Assessment
  • 1. Identification of threats made by students.
  • 2. Evaluation of seriousness of threat and danger
    it poses to others, recognizing that all
    threats are not the same (e.g., toy guns are not
  • 3. Intervention to reduce risk of violence.
  • 4. Follow-up to assess intervention results.

Schools are violent places?
Is School Violence A Major Threat for Student
Possible Scenarios To Think About
  • Approaching a stranger
  • Front Office conflict with parent or visitor
  • Agitated parent at a teachers conference.
  • Classroom Disruption - Student acting out
  • Refuses to leave.
  • Gets louder and leaves.
  • Limited English speaking parent.
  • Custody Issue (two parents)

Likelihood Of Homicide At Your School
What is the likelihood of a student committing a
homicide at your school? 93 student homicides
cases in 10 years 9.3/year (1992-93 to
2001-02) 119,000 schools 9.3/year 119,000
.0000781 1 case every 12,800 years
In Conclusion
  • Be part of the solution.
  • Be Observant Look for people or things that are
    out of place
  • Be in the halls during passing time.
  • Be on time for duty.
  • Approach and identify strangers.
  • Report concerns immediately.
  • Listen to your students.
  • Practice a personal safety plan!
  • Remain calm

Copy of Presentation
  • R1 http//
  • R2 http//
  • R3
  • R4 The National School Safety Center's Report on
    School Associated Violent Deaths
  • R5 by the U.S. Department of Education
  • R6 Dewey G. Cornell, Ph.D. youthviolence.edschool.
  • R7 http//
  • R8 http//
  • R9 http//
  • R10 Sound Clip Bucky Covington - A Different

Where can I learn more?
  • You can learn more about school safety by
  • The Center for Safe and Secure
  • Harris County Department of
  • 6300 Irvington Blvd.
    Houston, TX 77022
  • Phone 713-696-0770 Toll Free
  • www.safeandsecureschool

  • Presenter
  • Karl R. Boland, Director
  • The Center for Safe and Secure Schools
  • Harris County Department of Education
  • 6300 Irvington Blvd. Houston, TX 77022
  • Phone 713-696-0770 Toll Free 1-866-713-2343
  • Alan Ward
  • Educational and Technology Consultant