What Parents Can Do:
1. Recognize that keeping firearms in your home may put you at legal risk as well as exposing you and your family to physical risk. In many states, parents can be held liable for their children's actions, including inappropriate use of firearms. If you do choose to keep firearms at home, ensure that they are securely locked, that ammunition is locked and stored separately, and that children know weapons are never to be touched without your express permission and supervision.
2. Take an active role in your children's schools. Talk regularly with teachers and staff. Volunteer in the classroom or library, or in after-school activities. Work with parent-teacher-student organizations.
3. Act as role models. Settle your own conflicts peacefully and manage anger without violence.
4. Listen to and talk with your children regularly. Find out what they're thinking on all kinds of topics. Create an opportunity for two-way conversation, which may mean foregoing judgments or pronouncements. This kind of communication should be a daily habit, not a reaction to crisis.
5. Set clear limits on behaviors in advance. Discuss punishments and rewards in advance, too. Disciplining with consistency helps teach self-discipline, a skill your children can use for the rest of their lives.
6. Communicate clearly on the violence issue. Explain that you don't accept and won't tolerate violent behavior. Discuss what violence is and is not. Answer questions thoughtfully. Listen to children's ideas and concerns. They may bring up small problems that can easily be solved now, problems that could become worse if allowed to fester.
7. Help your children learn how to examine and find solutions to problems. Kids who know how to approach a problem and resolve it effectively are less likely to be angry, frustrated, or violent. Take advantage of "teachable moments" to help your child understand and apply these and other skills.
8. Discourage name-calling and teasing. These behaviors often escalate into fist fights (or worse). Whether the teaser is violent or not, the victim may see violence as the only way to stop it.
9. Insist on knowing your children's friends, whereabouts, and activities. It's your right. Make your home an inviting and pleasant place for your children and their friends; it's easier to know what they're up to when they're around. Know how to spot signs of troubling behavior in kids-yours and others.
10. Join your school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and work with other parents to develop standards for school-related events, acceptable out-of-school activities and places, and required adult supervision. Support each other in enforcing these standards.
11. Make it clear that you support school policies and rules that help create and sustain a safe place for all students to learn. If your child feels a rule is wrong, discuss his or her reasons and what rule might work better.
Join up with other parents, through school and neighborhood
associations, religious organizations, civic groups, and youth activity
groups. Talk with each other about violence problems, concerns about
youth in the community, sources of help to strengthen and sharpen
parenting skills, and similar issues.
What Students Can Do:
1. Refuse to bring a weapon to school, refuse to carry a weapon for another, and refuse to keep silent about those who carry weapons.
2. Report any crime immediately to school authorities or school police.
3. Report suspicious or worrisome behavior or talk by other students to a teacher
or counselor at your school. You may save someone's life.
4. Learn how to manage your own anger effectively. Find out ways to settle arguments by talking it out, working it out, or walking away rather than fighting.
5. Help others settle disputes peacefully. Start or join a peer mediation program, in which trained students help classmates find ways to settle arguments without fists or weapons.
6. Mentor a younger student and be a role model and friend. You can make it easier for a younger person to adjust to school and ask for help.
7. Start a school crime watch. Consider including a student patrol that helps keep an eye on corridors, parking lots, and groups, and a way for students to report concerns anonymously.
8. Ask each student activity or club to adopt an anti-violence theme. The newspaper could run how-to stories on violence prevention; the art club could illustrate costs of violence. Career clubs could investigate how violence affects their occupational goals. Sports teams could address ways to reduce violence that's not part of the game plan.
9. Welcome new students and help them feel at home in your school. Introduce them to other students. Get to know at least one student unfamiliar to you each week.
10. Start (or sign up for) a "peace pledge" campaign, in which students promise to settle disagreements without violence, to reject weapons, and to work toward a safe campus for all. Try for 100% participation.
11. Take pride and responsibility for your school. Each one of us plays a part in school safety. Be a part of the solution!