All April’s Top 10 Articles Have One Thing in Common: Acts of Violence

The topic Campus Safety readers showed the most interest in this month was acts of violence, which comes as no surprise since data shows violence is on the rise in schools and hospitals.

We’ve been doing top stories of the month for a while now, and as far as I can remember, this is the first time everything of the 10 most read Campus Safety articles have focused on the same subject: acts of violence.

Everyone currently involved in campus safety and security, whether in a K-12 district, college/university, or hospital, is well aware of the significant uptick in violence since the pandemic.

In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death among people aged 1 to 19, surpassing car-related deaths for the first time, according to a newly published research letter. Another new study found that threats and physical attacks against school staff have increased during the pandemic. More than two in five school administrators have reported verbal or threatening abuse from parents during the pandemic. Paraprofessionals, school counsellors, teacher assistants, and school resource officers (SROs) reported the highest rates of physical violence among students (22%).

In December, a report by the Ministry of Education revealed an increase in school bullying, hate crimes and violence. In recent months, hate crimes have increased dramatically on college campuses, particularly at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), prompting the Department of Homeland Security to issue a February bulletin warning that such threats could incite extremists to mobilize for violence.

In 2020, hospital assaults hit an all-time high, according to an IAHSS survey. From 2019 to 2020, the rate of assaults in US hospitals increased by more than 23%, from 10.9 incidents per 100 beds to 14.2.

The perpetrators of violence in April’s Top 10 articles run the gamut, from students and teachers to parents and complete strangers, highlighting the need to be prepared for the potential for violence in all types of people. Although targeted violence or random acts of violence are statistically rare, we cannot hope that it will not happen in our neighborhoods or in our children’s schools.

An effective way to prepare for these types of incidents, in addition to other more common incidents, such as suicide threats, is to perform table top exercises. If you’re looking to perform tabletop exercises for your campus but aren’t sure where to start, Guy Bliesner, an analyst with the Idaho Office of School Safety and Security (IOSSS), provided Campus Safety several incidents that have actually happened at Idaho Schools over the past five years and how administrators have responded. Here is the link to the latest installment, which also includes links to all previous installments.

The three campus safety conferences this summer will also include a session on scenario training and tabletop exercises, led by Paul Timm. During this session, Timm will separate the audience into groups and perform a brief exercise where participants will have to make decisions about how they would react to an emergency scenario.

Campus Safety also recently hosted a webinar led by Stephen Lopez, Emergency Manager for the Doña Ana County Office of Emergency Management. Stephen explained how to recognize possible danger signs of targeted violence, what you can do when implementing a protection plan, what you can do to help guide a potential victim of targeted violence to reduce exposure, actions leaders may need to take to help resolve the incident, and more. You can consult it on demand.

The webinar landing page was among this month’s top stories, showing that school and hospital leaders are taking the necessary steps to protect their students, staff, patients and visitors.