Can We Stop School Violence?
Ever since the Newtown incident, people across the world have had an opportunity to revisit their thoughts on school safety and school violence. As I write this post, the police department near UCF is trying to piece together the missing pieces of the puzzle, and vital information as to why yet another student has determined that violence and mass murder is the only way out of a situation in which he felt there was no alternative. Luckily, the UCF incident never fully played out and the student took his own life, ending the threat with no additional loss of life.
The prevention of school violence is something that is very dear to me. It is what I think of every morning I enter my police car. It is what I am thankful for each day that closes without a violent act in my area. As late as 2005 nearly 6 years after the Columbine high school massacre, state officials and government officials were still trying to piece together, why the Columbine high school massacre took place in that high school. But not the actual act, but rather the reasons that led to this mass murder and the reasons why they felt so comfortable executing their plan. During the plan and execution, one of the most chilling photos from the Columbine incident in my opinion, is that of Eric Harris stopping the execution of the plan for a moment to get something to drink. The level of comfort that they had during their plan’s execution is something that will puzzle us forever. Most people can’t stop for a drink if they are simply trying to pay their bills, or discussing a matter of importance in their life. But Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold acted out on a plan and their comfort level was somewhat almost unreal.
What Is T.A.G.?
Their actions and the events that led up to the shooting is the main reason that T.A.G. (The Threat Assessment Group) came to be. This group consisted of a forensic psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz, and four others. They attempted to perform a “psychological autopsy” of the Columbine high school massacre. One of the members of T.A.G. asked an intriguing question. “Did Dylan ever shoot when Eric wasn’t around?” A question that to this day, has yet to be answered. But if Eric Harris was so cool and calm during this entire massacre, (the video does show that) then the speculation would most certainly be that there was already an understanding of who pulled most of the weight between the two as their actions unfolded that day.
As part of understanding how and what students think and believe of these tragic losses of life and incidents on school campuses. Colleagues at our school and I have come together to speak to a large body of writing class students at Westland Senior High in Hialeah, Florida. As a result the students will write articles about the Newtown massacre. Those articles that the students are writing will all be posted here on this blog in the very near future. I am an eager and anxious to read their thoughts and how they feel about school violence and the tragedy that took place in Newtown.
As students have to endure more and more news of these types of tragedy’s, I don’t think we can ever ask them enough for their thoughts and concerns. I think one possible way to help them help us is to allow them to express themselves through writing. Making them believe and understand that they are an integral part of the success of their school and that they can overcome any failures or inconsistencies of their respective schools without violence is one of the most important elements necessary to ever having the chance to reduce violence in schools. Something that needs to happen very, very quickly. I look forward to posting their articles on this blog. I am very proud of each and every one of them!
Officer D. Jimenez