Why do students bring guns, knives, or other weapons to school? Some are just showing off, others feel that they need a weapon to protect themselves, and some are actively looking to threaten or harm others. Whatever the reason, though, no one should be bringing a weapon to school.
If you suspect that someone has a weapon or is threatening someone else's life, the best thing to do is to speak up. But how can you do that? If you find out that someone at school has a weapon, here are some tips for handling the situation.
Seek safety. If you see someone with a weapon, walk the other way. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly and quietly as possible.
Report the situation. Notify an adult you trust immediately. Find someone you can talk to, such as a school counselor, principal, teacher, coach, or parent. These people should know how to handle the situation appropriately, and they can keep your name confidential. Tell them exactly what you saw, what type of weapon it was (a knife, a gun, etc.), where the incident happened, and who was involved. Tell them about the situation — such as whether the weapon was being shown off or used to threaten another student.
If you don't trust an adult or can't find someone you believe will protect your identity, make an anonymous phone call to your school office and report the incident. You can also call 911 and ask them to keep your identity confidential.
Write it down. Keep a written record of everything you can remember about the incident, including the people involved, the type of weapon, the date and time it happened, and where it happened. You should also record whether the incident was reported and, if so, to whom. Writing this information down while it's still fresh in your mind will help you remember details if you're asked about it later.
Violence can happen even when a kid doesn't have a weapon. It's important to remember that violence comes in many different forms. It can be physical, like pushing, punching, or fighting with someone. Violence can also be psychological and may include name-calling, harassment, taunting, and other forms of bullying. People who are more likely to become violent may show some of these warning signs:
Of course, these signs don't necessarily mean that a person will become violent or bring a weapon to school. Still, you should take all signs and threats seriously, and share your concerns with a responsible adult early on. Speaking up about violence and weapons in school not only protects you, but your friends and classmates, too.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2013
|Join Together Join Together, a collaboration of the Boston University School of Public Health and The Partnership at Drugfree.org, is a national resource for communities working to reduce substance abuse and gun violence.|
|Self-Defense Many people think of self-defense as a karate kick to the groin or jab in the eyes of an attacker. But self-defense is actually about using your smarts — not your fists.|
|Should You Worry About School Violence? Do you worry whether school is a safe place? Find out what you need to know about school violence in this article.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.