School counselors serve their schools in many ways. Counselors are there to ensure that every student is provided the opportunity to reach their full potential. They can also be main contributors to the intervention and prevention efforts employed in their schools.

School administrators and teachers have the immense task of educating our youth as well as keeping them safe every day. On this page the Center for Safer Schools will provides resources for teachers and administrators on school violence prevention; safe school planning; crisis prevention and management; and critical incident response, to assist in making schools as safe as possible.



What Else Can Administrators Do?

Another school shooting. A rash of threats. Copycats. Rumors. Concerns. Questions. Educators today face the above all too often, and the bottom-line question to answer is "What else can educators do?"

With every school shooting, answering the question becomes more frustrating and more urgent. Many educators have been working hard to make their schools as safe as possible. When another shooting occurs, principals, counselors, teachers and other educators are tested with regard to what they have in place to make their schools safe places. "What else can we do?" becomes a question uttered in schools across the country.

The "else" educators can do begins with thinking through how their schools would handle the situation at hand. Is there a crisis response plan in place? Is the plan one that is known and understood by staff? Does a working relationship exist between and among school staff, law enforcement and other emergency responders? Do students and parents know what to do when a crisis occurs? Each of these questions serves as a reminder to educators that crisis planning and preparation must be more than on-paper exercises. Such planning and preparation must be implementable in ways that minimize the impact of the crisis on the school and its community.

The "else" also involves assessment of whether the situation at hand could have been prevented in their own schools. Are prevention strategies in place? Would the all-too-often-noted warning signs go unheeded in their schools? If pre-incident threatening statements were made, would these have been reported by students or others? Would responses to such reports have taken place? Again, such questions serve as prompts that educators must answer for their own schools.

As the situation fades from the headlines, the "else" educators must think about is how their schools would rebound if they had experienced the situation. What healing processes are in place? How would their staff, students and parents move forward? What plans are in place to assist the school's efforts to refocus on its educational mission if a crisis were to occur?

A shooting that occurs thousands of miles away prompts questions close to home. A crisis, thousands of miles away, can create a crisis close to home. What educators can do when these situations occur is answer the questions that are prompted. By answering these questions and taking appropriate actions given what their answers reveal, they likely will be further reducing the probability that such incidents will occur in their schools as well as reducing the potential impact should such incidents occur. Although there are no guarantees that such incidents will never occur, by constantly thinking through how they are making their schools as safe as possible, educators advance their school safety efforts to new levels and reduce the "else" they have to do in the future.