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This known effectiveness stands in contrast to commonly used prevention strategies, such as metal detectors and other security measures, for which there is insufficient data to determine their benefits and some evidence to suggest that they may negatively impact students’ perceptions of safety.Public health offers knowledge and experience in preventing school violence that can significantly enhance approaches to end school violence.Youth’s experiences, knowledge, and skills can influence their likelihood of becoming involved in violence.Strengthening young people’s abilities to effectively solve difficulties that arise and their opportunities to participate in prosocial activities can significantly reduce the risk for violence.Alameda County Public Health Department will continue to be a leader in teen dating violence prevention through Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention is a free 60-minute, interactive training designed to help educators, youth-serving organizations, and others working with teens understand the risk factors and warning signs associated with teen dating violence.Dating Matters takes place in a virtual school setting, complete with navigation through school hallways and classrooms.
These programs are delivered to all students in a school or a particular grade and focus on many areas, including emotional self-awareness, emotional control, self-esteem, positive social skills, social problem-solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork.
For instance, many universal, school-based violence prevention programs improve students’ social skills and problem-solving abilities, which can result in more positive peer and student-teacher relationships throughout the school.
Some school-based programs also help students know how to appropriately and safely intervene to stop an escalating violent episode between peers.
Physical features of the school environment that could reduce violence include increasing natural surveillance, such as having windows at entrances and low or no shrubbery that does not block visibility, and effectively managing access to the building with well-marked entrances and exits that are continually monitored.
Other strategies include creating a warm and welcoming environment with prominently displayed student artwork and the school’s mascot/logo and by maintaining the building and parking areas by removing graffiti and making sure areas are well lit.
No one factor in isolation causes school violence, so stopping school violence involves using multiple prevention strategies that address the many individual, relationship, community, and societal factors that influence the likelihood of violence.