Experts say schools can lower violence risk

CINCINNATI - A lot of people are wondering what events led to the shooting rampage in Chardon, Ohio, Monday and what, if anything, could have been done to prevent it.


Tri-State experts say schools can take steps to lower the risk of student violence without increasing school security with more guards or by adding metal detectors.
     


Chardon High School students told reporters bullying played a role in Monday's tragedy. Some said the suspect appeared to target specific students sitting together in the school's cafeteria. Other students said the gunman was a "loner" and an outcast.



Bridges for A Just Community counselor Shawn Jeffers says schools need to make the loners feel less lonely.


"When you see the kid who is sitting alone, go over and talk to them. That's because there may be issues of homesickness or something happening there. This way you sit down and have a conversation," said Jeffers.



Forensic psychologist Dr. Kenneth Manges says schools should also watch for signs. Manges says he's seen pictures on the Internet that indicate the gunman may have sent out warnings before the incident.


"This young man had two weapons in his hands, so he had taken a picture of himself in this power pose. So my guess is that this was, in some way, premeditated," said Dr. Manges.



Jaffers also says that if students are being bullied, they shouldn't be afraid to speak up to adults.

"Even if it's a false alarm, a student makes a comment like they feel they are being bullied or they are feeling hopeless, they're feeling angry because of something other students did, I think if a teacher intervenes, it can let a student know that somebody cares," said Jaffers.



Manges added that schools need to tell students that destructive talk needs to be reported for everyone's safety.



"There should be a zero tolerance for the statements about wanting to harm someone else," said Manges.




Both Manges and Jaffers say it's always good for schools to continue to re-evaluate how they handle bullying, especially after a tragedy occurs.
 

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