Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Teaching Kids to Speak Up

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Teaching Kids to Speak Up

Article excerpt

Some time ago, a high school student in my town brought a knife to school. When he got wind that the school's resident police officer was on his trail, he passed it off to a friend. In the end, both students were questioned, and one was expelled while the other was suspended.

What mattered in this case was that the officer learned of the threat from students.

Such communication couldn't be more important. The fatal attack last week by a 15-year-old on students in Springfield, Ore., has stretched the string of school shootings beyond anyone's understanding. In this case, the school was aware of a threat, and it expelled the student. It may not have been able to anticipate such a violent response. But as schools examine safety in the wake of the tragedy, it is clear that greater communication within the school community may help prevent at least some problems. The kind of communication that occurred in the case of the knife comes only with plenty of effort on the part of school staff. …

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