"It was tested on almost 600 kids in a desegregated Indianapolis middle school where there are a lot of aggressive kids," Bosworth says. "Those who used the computer were more aware of their own coping strategies and violence presentation. They also showed a decrease in the belief that violence was a way to solve problems" (quoted in Singer at p. 41).
Peacemakers Program. Violence Prevention for Students in Grades Four through Eight. This program uses role-playing to forge problem-solving, anger management and conflict resolution skills. Fifteen lessons are designed to be taught by teachers and counselors, and there is a computer games component starring an alien in a scenario based on the film it's a Wonderful Life. Unlike similar programs, says Jeremy Shapiro, vice-president of research for Applewood Centers, a non-profit, child-serving agency in northeastern Ohio, Peacemakers "does not assume kids want to learn these skills." Program testing showed a substantial decrease in disciplinary incidents related to aggression and in suspensions for fighting, Shapiro adds. Weinheimer recommends that school administrators should ask whoever is representing the program they're interested in for evidence. "Look for change in behavior or attitude, or issues like school attendance or completion rate," she says. "Where it has been shown to be effective and at what grade level. "Also, they should not be afraid to develop something on their own based on what they know works, because many of the best ways of handling issues match the needs and resources within the local community" (emphasis added) (quoted in Singer at p. 41).
Part II: Review of Safety and Security Plan for a School Corporation.
A review of the school corporation in question's safety plan from the employee handbook reveals a number of shortcomings. The current safety plan is as follows:
It is the responsibility of each employee that all tasks be conducted in a safe and efficient manner complying with all local, state and federal safety and health regulations, programmatic standards, and with any special safety concerns identified by Company XYZ for use in a particular are or with a client.
Although most safety regulations are consistent throughout each department and program, it is the responsibility of the employee to identify and familiarize himself with the Emergency Plan for his working area.
Each facility shall have posted as Emergency Plan detailing procedures in dealing with emergencies such as: (a) fire; (b) weather, and - medical emergency, etc.
It is the responsibility of the employee to complete an "Accident and Incident Report" for each safety and health infraction that occurs by an employee or that an employee witnesses.
Failure to report such an infraction may result in employee disciplinary action, including termination.
Each employee should sign a safety statement during new employee orientation. Furthermore, management requires that every person in the organization assumes the responsibility for individual and organizational safety.
Failure to follow Company XYZ safety and health guidelines or conduct which places the employee, volunteer, client or agency property at risk can lead to employee disciplinary action and/or termination.
The Health and Safety Committee and the Executive Director shall have the responsibility to develop, and authority to implement, the safety and health program in the interest of a safer work environment.
Beyond the foregoing delineated responsibilities, there school corporation also has different codes for emergency situations; for example, Code Red means a complete lock down. Nevertheless, it is clear that there are significant gaps in the foregoing safety plan that require attention. For this purpose, the eight steps developed by Robbins and DeCenzo (2001) provide a useful framework in which to evaluate and identify opportunities for improving the foregoing safety plan. These eight steps and suggested changes to the school corporation in question's safety plan are provided in Table 1 below.
Eight safety steps developed by Robbins and DeCenzo and suggested changes to safety plan.
Step 1. Involve supervisors and employees in the development of a safety and health plan.
The current safety plan indicates that management deems safety and health a priority, but assigns most of the responsibilities for oversight and administration to employees without providing a means by which feedback can be provided and does not currently encourage or solicit such feedback from all the stakeholders involved. For this purpose, it is recommended that the following language be added to statement no. 1 above: "All employees are encouraged to report unsafe working conditions or suggestions for improving existing conditions."
Step No. 2. Hold someone accountable for implementing the plan.
The current safety plan states that the Health and Safety Committee and the Executive Director are responsible for implementing the safety plan, and assigns accountability for compliance with employees. Recommend that statement no. 8 above be changed to reflect accountability for those responsible for implementation: "The effectiveness of the organization's safety plan will be considered in the periodic performance reviews for those responsible for its implementation. Such review will be based on quantifiable metrics used to measure the success of the program's components."
Step No. 3. Determine the safety and health requirements for your work site.
The language in statement no. 1 above was deemed to satisfy this requirement, with the addition of the training measures outlined in Step No. 6 below.
Step No. 4. Assess what workplace hazards exist in the facility. Identify the potential health and safety problems that may exist on the job.
The current safety plan stipulates in statement no. 6 above that every employee is responsible for organizational safety. This language is so vague as to be meaningless and the responsibilities it assigns are equally vague. Therefore, it is recommended that a statement be added to the organizational safety plan that states: "An inspection of all of the organization's workplaces will be conducted by XYZ Company's health and safety committee to identify potential problems and to recommend preventive measures."
Step No. 5. Correct hazards that exist. If hazards were identified in the assessment, eliminate them.
While statements 3 and 4 of the existing safety plan outline what steps should be followed in the event of an accident or emergency, there are no provisions for identifying hazards in the first place, reinforcing the need for the recommendation in Step No. 4 above.
Step No. 6. Train employees in safety and health techniques.
Statement no. 2 of the current safety plan assigns all responsibility for becoming proficient in these techniques to the employees without including any provisions for training them to do so. Moreover, statement 1 requires all employees to know and comply with all relevant health and safety regulations at the local, state and federal level. Therefore, it is recommended that an additional section be added to the safety plan that states: "In-service training concerning these regulations will be provided for all new hires within 30 days of employment and such training will also be provided to all employees on an annual basis."
Step No. 7. If employees are the first to witness problems, establish a means for them to report them including have emergency procedures in place if necessary.
Statement no. 4 of the existing safety plan stipulates that employees are required to complete an accident and incident report for any event they witness, as well as any that "occur" by an employee. It is recommended that statement no. 4 be changed to read: "It is the responsibility of the employee to complete an Accident and Incident Report' for each safety and health infraction that is caused by an employee or that an employee witnesses."
Step No. 8. Continually update and refine safety and health programs.
There is currently no provision for reviewing and updating the organizational health and safety plan. Based on this gap, it is recommended that a section be added to the existing health and safety plan that states: "The effectiveness of the organizational health and safety program will be reviewed by the Health and Safety Committee, the Executive Director and the chair of the company's safety committee every three months to identify opportunities for improvement and areas that require preventive measures."
The research showed that in response to the increased incidence of school shootings in recent years, federal, state and local authorities have focused their attention on identifying what works best to help prevent these episodes. Some of the initiatives that have emerged as a result of these initiatives have included high-tech security devices such as metal detectors and closed-circuit televisions in the classrooms and on school buses, as well as including additional security forces on campus. The research also showed that many authorities believe that a superior approach is to address the problem at its roots by providing a slew of preventive measure, but while this approach might be laudable from a socially acceptable perspective, it fails to take into account the anomalous behaviors involved in these incidents. Just as it is virtually impossible to use high-tech military…