Leadership magazine Sept/Oct 2018 V48 No. 1 - Page 34

When our belief systems and our behaviors are in conflict , it creates mental discomfort that causes us to seek resolution . For example , if legislators , administrators and teachers say , “ Our schools are safe ,” however , fatal shootings continue to occur in schools , it creates anxiety which negatively impacts all learning to some degree . Do we not have enough evidence by now to be able to identify potential threats by observing student at-risk behaviors and provide the appropriate intervention ? If a student is disconnected with an appropriate adult at home or school and is struggling socially by being bullied or put down in both environments , he may eventually feel compelled to modify or eliminate one of the truths . This may result in an act of aggression against others or a suicide . These behaviors should be observable by teachers and administrators . However , I have not read of a school shooting by a student or former student that was expected . Everyone is surprised initially . Only after examining the facts and evidence leading up to the shooting does our reflection create clarity .
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The most recent Valentine ’ s Day school shootings in Broward County , Florida , where 17 lost their lives in a seemingly random act of violence , may fit the connectedness , or lack thereof , research scenario , as do most school shooting perpetrators . The shooter , who attended the school previously , had a history of violence . Most of us would probably agree that he wasn ’ t born violent . Then , it must have been an acquired behavior . How did he , and other school shooting perpetrators , get to a place mentally that resulted in the taking of innocent lives ? The Resnick study may shed some light on the causal factors . One indicationis that he did not have a significant appropriate adult in his life at home and at school . Over time , the lack of relational capacity with a mature , responsible adult , while being exposed to bullying tactics , put downs and traumatized experiences , may have led to mental health issues , which eventually gave rise to a culminating act . Evidence suggests he was exposed to violent family behaviors and he exhibited violence as a teen at school , which obviously was not corrected in loco parentis ( in the place of the parent ). For teachers to act in the place of the parent , they must treat their students like their own children , i . e ., teach them respect for themselves and others , provide a work ethic , exhibit grit , take responsibility for their actions , provide future vision and follow their instruction ( Gillett , R ., Baer , D ., 2017 ). This is the real achievement gap in schools .
We can also assume his self-talk about his life probably wasn ’ t very positive . In fact , recently released videos from the shooter ’ s cell phone proved he had planned the attack . He indicated the number of victims could be around 20 . He named the school and said everyone would soon know his name . He said he was done with being told he was an idiot ( among other put downs ). His protective factors against violence were virtually non-existent , therefore , he became marginalized . Were any of the factors he described known by school officials or teachers prior to the shootings ?
Marginalized kids can become random actors if parents or teachers ignore the early warning signs (“ My child is a troubled kid , even though he acts out violently at times , he would never hurt anyone .” – cognitive dissonance ). Most marginalized kids in schools have been taunted , disrespected , bullied or treated differently than we would want our own children treated . If we are unable or unwilling to create a caring and supportive environment for our children , why would we expect them to not act out in anger ? As heartbreaking and tragic as many of their actions are , kids still provide insights into their thoughts through their tone of voice , body language , facial expressions , appearance , etc . By getting to know each student and being observant , we can detect when a student behaves outside his or her norms . These are signals that they may need someone , like a teacher , to notice and step up . We can ask if everything is okay and try to create a supportive environment for them . If school leaders set the expectations for teacher and student behavior by modeling and engaging in a process that connects all students with their peers and supervising adults ( i . e ., Capturing Kids ’ Hearts and Lead Worthy the Course : adolescent curriculum ; www .
When our belief systems and our behav- iors are in conflict, it creates mental discom- fort that causes us to seek resolution. For example, if legislators, administrators and teachers say, “Our schools are safe,” how- ever, fatal shootings continue to occur in schools, it creates anxiety which negatively impacts all learning to some degree. Do we not have enough evidence by now to be able to identify potential threats by observ- ing student at-risk behaviors and provide the appropriate intervention? If a student is disconnected with an appropriate adult at home or school and is struggling socially by being bullied or put down in both environ- ments, he may eventually feel compelled to modify or eliminate one of the truths. This may result in an act of aggression against others or a suicide. These behaviors should be observable by teachers and administra- tors. However, I have not read of a school shooting by a student or former student that was expected. Everyone is surprised ini- tially. Only after examining the facts and evidence leading up to the shooting does our reflection create clarity. 34 Leadership The most recent Valentine’s Day school shootings in Broward County, Florida, where 17 Z\]\[HY[Z[H[BHXو[[KX^H]HۛXY B\܈X\[ً\X\[\[\™[[\]]ܜˈB\][YH][\KYH\ܞHو[[K[و\[ؘXHYܙYH]H\۸&]ܛ[[ []]\]HY[[X]Z\YZ]B[܋YK[\[œ\]]ܜ]HXHY[[H]\[Y[HZ[و[[]\B\ۚXYHX^HYYHYۈB]\[XܜˈۙH[X][ۚ\]HY]HHYۚYX[\X]HY[[\YH]YH[] ݙ\[YKHXو[][ۘ[\X]H]HXKB\K\ۜXHY[ [HZ[^Y[Z[XX]ۜ[][XKB^Y^\Y[\X^H]HYY[[X[\Y\X][X[H]H\H˜H[Z[][X ]Y[HY\H\™^Y[[[Z[HZ][ܜ[B^X]Y[[H\HY[] X؝[\H\ܜXY[\[B\ [HXHوH\[ K܈XX\X[HXHوH\[ ^H]\X]Z\Y[ZHZ\ۈ[[KKXX[H\X܈[\[\[\ݚYHHܚ]X^X]ܚ] ZH\ۜX[]H܈Z\X[ۜݚYB]\H\[ۈ[Z\[X[ۂ[] Y\  MK\\HX[XY][Y[\[˂H[[\[YH\[][X]\›YHؘXH\۸&]\H]]K[X KB[H[X\YY[HH\&\[ۙHݙYHY[YH]XˈB[X]YH\وX[\[B\[ HYH[ZY]\[ۙH[ۈۛ\KBZYH\ۙH]Z[H\[Y[ [[ۙ\]ۜK\XB]HXܜYZ[[[H\H\X[BۋY^\[ \YܙKHX[YHX\[B[^Y \H[HوHXܜH\ܚXYۛۈHٙXX[܈XX\[܈H[“X\[[^YY[XYH[BXܜY\[܈XX\YۛܙHHX\B\[Yۜ 8'^H[\HXYY ][YHX][[H][Y\B[]\\[[ۙK'H8$ۚ]]H\Bۘ[JK[X\[[^YY[š]HY[][Y \ܙ\XY [YY܂X]YY\[H[H[[\ۈ[[X]Y YH\H[XH܂[[[ܙX]HH\[[\ܝ]B[\ۛY[܈\[[H[H^X[HX][[\\šX\XZ[[YX\X[HوZ\X[ۜ\KY[ݚYH[Y[Z\YYZ\ۙHوXKH[XYKXX[^\[ۜ\X\B[K]ˈH][ۛXXY[[Z[؜\[ H[]X[BY[Z]\]YH\܈\ܛ\˂\H\HYۘ[]^HX^HYYYKBۙKZHHXX\XH[\\ B[\Y]\][\^H[HܙX]BH\ܝ]H[\ۛY[܈[KYXY\]H^X][ۜ܈XX\[Y[Z][܈H[[[[[YB[[H\]ۛX[Y[]Z\Y\[\\\[Y[ KK\\[Y&HX\[XYܝBH\NY\[\X[[N