kitchen table math, the sequel: The Safe Schools Initiative - what they looked at

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Safe Schools Initiative - what they looked at

kcab asked whether the Secret Service report on targeted school violence looked at attacks that were prevented as well as attacks that were carried out.

The answer is 'no.' The report looks only at attacks that were actually carried out.

The bad news, I suspect, is that the reason the report didn't look at attacks that were prevented is simply that attacks never are prevented. Not by school authorities, at any rate.

I doubt many planned school shootings have been prevented by parents, either. Parents never know about the plans -- none of the adults in the student's life knows. There are often kids who know, but no adults. And kids don't tell.

Once a student plans a shooting attack on his school, it's up to him whether he goes through with it or not.

At least, that's the way I read the findings.

update: I read the findings wrong.


kcab said...

I'll have to remain skeptical of the idea that attacks are never prevented. Never reported, never tracked? Highly probable, especially since they often involve juveniles. Never prevented? Highly unlikely. I can think of an event in my own child's high school just last year where any harm to other students was prevented and I am sure that isn't the only case.

Sometimes an event will appear to never happen, when really it is just that we aren't measuring in such a way that we can see it happening.

Catherine Johnson said...

That's possible --- BUT what they found was that adults never know.

Of course, it could be that the attacks that **are** reported are then prevented. That would make perfect sense. These kids don't seem to be masterminds, particularly.

But they don't breathe a word of their plans to adults.

Only to other kids.

ChemProf said...

Here's one that was prevented, just recently, but it was because other kids reported it.

Catherine Johnson said...

kcab was right (I've got the correction up).

Now I'm thinking we need to identify the characteristics of the KIDS WHO WILL REPORT THREATS TO ADULTS.

Everything's riding on those kids as far as I can tell.


I read something I found incredibly sad....apparently Dylan Klebold (or have I mixed up the names? I'm talking about the Columbine boy who had the long face and was depressed) --- anyway, if I'm remembering correctly, his mother said she absolutely could not in any way, shape, or form envision her son ever doing anything remotely like what he did.

I think you may have to have raised kids through the teen years to experience the 'full pain' of that statement.

Teenagers are strange and beloved creatures: they aren't fully formed, not at all. They seem rational, and smart, and they are rational and smart --- until they're not.

None of my friends can capture it in words. My neighbor today, who is a psychologist, couldn't do it.

I was telling her that after reading the Secret Service report I was wondering whether the kids involved, including the 'bystanders' (maybe especially the bystanders) really know that the children will die when they are shot.

I'm not at all sure they do.

Of course they understand death intellectually, as a concept; that's why they're doing what they're doing, presumably .... but I'm not at all sure they understand it the way a fully grown adult understands it.

And, too, teenagers are so profoundly possessed by their friends and their non-friends. Words like "peer pressure" and "bad influence" don't even begin to capture it.

What I'm saying, really, is that if Dylan hadn't known Eric, who was the leader and I think the planner, his mother would have been right; it would have been impossible for him to do what he did.

At least, I can easily imagine that is so.