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R. Sedlack, G. Rivera-Singletary

Saint Leo University (UNITED STATES)
As of May 28, 2018 there were 23 school shootings in the United States where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to more than 1 shooting a week (Ahmed & Walker, 2018).

As a result, school systems have sought to improve the safety and security of schools (NEA, 2018).

While addressing interior and exterior safety procedures and response plan are essential components to providing safer schools, educators are becoming increasingly aware that there is much more to school safety.

Research has highlighted the effectiveness of a strong positive school climate, a focus on a comprehensive social curriculum and conflict resolution strategies, a system to identify and support at risk students, and systems of support for students who struggle to form relationships with peers and adults (NEA, 2018).

School climate is the foundation on which schools build their instructional program and their school emergency management system. At the core of safe and supportive schools are relationships of respect and connection between adults and students. A positive school climate increases the chances of students succeeding academically and decreases the chances of them suffering harm from threats or hazards (NEA, 2018)

America’s youth need to be able to understand and recognize behaviors and attitudes that lead to violence, and teach and model how to resolve conflict peacefully and create a culture of respect and focus on learning (NEA, 2018).

On December 14, 2012, twenty-six victims were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The school principal, teachers and primary grade students lost their lives in a massacre that would change the way we look at school safety forever.

In 2015, the Sandy Hook Advisory Committee published a report dedicated to the families, the Newtown community, and to all those that have come face-to-face with the devastating effects of violence.

Their recommendations provide concrete and clear recommendations to enhance safety before, during and after a crisis.

This presentation will include those recommendations as well as a discussion on the strategies to advance the mental well being of both staff and students as a method to prevent future school shootings and tragedies which change lives forever.

[1] Ahmed, Saeed & Walker, Christina (2018) CNN There has been, on average, 1 school shooting every week this year. Retrieved from
[2] Cox, John and Rich, Steven (2018) Scarred by school shootings. Washington Post. Retrieved from
[3] Eliot, M., et al. (2010), “Supportive school climate and student willingness to seek help for bullying and threats of violence.” Journal of School Psychology, 48, 533–553. doi:10.1016/j. jsp.2010.07.001
[4] Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Committee (March 6, 2018) Presented to Governor Daniel P. Malloy
[5] National Association of School Psychologists. (2013). “Effective school discipline policy and practice: Supporting student learning.” Bethesda, MD. Retrieved from assets/Documents/Research%20and%20Policy/Advocacy%20 Resources/School_Discipline_Congressional_Briefing.pdf
[6] NEA School Crisis Guide Copyright © 2018 National Education Association (NEA)