Group Says School Shootings are Predictable and Can Be Prevented

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The think tank Preventing School says that school shootings, like the one this week at Berrendo Middle School in New Mexico, and last month at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, are predictable, and preventable, and that prevention through intervention, not arming teachers, is the answer.

School shootings, like the one this week at Berrendo Middle School in New Mexico, and the one last month at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, are tragedies that are both predictable, and preventable.

That’s the message from the founders of think tank Preventing School, whose combined expertise includes law, boys in society, behavioral psychology, law enforcement, and behavioral profiling.

"Nobody is born a school shooter," explains Anne P. Mitchell, the founder of the group. "They are made. And as such, they have common socioacademic factors in their background."

Adds Mitchell, an attorney and expert in issues facing boys in society, "Identify those common factors, and you can create a profile of what these boys at risk look like, and get them the help and support they need, before the shooting starts.  It's prevention through intervention."

The founders of Preventing School have committed to determining the common socioacademic factors that previous school shooters shared, through investigation that includes not only analyzing data, but going out in the field and interviewing those who knew previous school shooters best – parents, teachers, classmates, and others who interacted with them on a regular basis. They can then put together a model of what youths who share these common factors look like, and in particular what it looks like when a youth has a predisposition, when confronted with this constellation of factors, to go down the school shooting path.

"And, in fact, our preliminary research has already identified several important common factors," notes Mitchell.

In turn, this information will be provided to schools and other institutions, to aid school psychologists, administrators, and teachers to identify these at-risk youths, so that they can intervene, and get them off that path. Before the shooting starts.

Explains Mitchell, "A school shooting is a last, desperate cry for help.  Unfortunately, it's  always too late. By facilitating early intervention in the lives of these boys, many lives can be saved, including their own."

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Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.
Preventing School Shootings
since: 12/2013
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