A recent study done in collaboration with over a dozen national school and safety organizations has revealed that students who have been affected by violence, either in their communities or at school, report lower GPAs, more negative remarks on their records and test scores and more school absences than their peers who have been unaffected. The study also reports that children were about two times more likely to be affected by the negative effects of trauma than adults – making prevention of these events increasingly important.
Trauma can also affect sustained and focused attention, making it difficult for students to remain engaged and focused in school. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “When children are exposed to violence, the convergence between real-life events and their worst fears – about physical injury and loss of life, loved ones, and control of their actions and feelings – is an experience of overwhelming and often unanticipated danger [that] triggers a traumatic disruption of biological, cognitive, social, and emotional regulations that has different behavioral manifestations.”
The organizations collectively suggest practicing planning and prevention methods as a key to stopping traumatic events from occurring. With an effective plan in place, stakeholders are more prepared and confident if a traumatic event, like a school shooting, were to occur. Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend, advocates for all schools to have a firm safety plan in place. “Having a set safety plan before traumatic events occur is the best way to protect our students. The SafeDefend system is an effective plan that engages staff, law enforcement and students to work together to keep our schools safe.”
Read more from the report here