While new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a drop in some risky behaviors among teens (6/5, A-7, “Risky teen behaviors near record lows, CDC says”), high school students continue to engage in dangerous behavior when it comes to weapons. More than a million high school students still carry weapons to school at least once a month, and 8 percent of students are threatened or injured with a weapon on school property each year.
New research has also been released about students’ willingness to report threats of school shootings. In 81 percent of school shootings, the attackers tell other people about their plans beforehand. Whether those students tell school authorities what they know depends in part on each student’s relationship to the school and faculty.
Both sets of findings underscore the importance of 1-866-SPEAK-UP, a nonprofit hotline for students to report threats anonymously. Since 2002, the hotline has received 25,000 calls. While creating a school climate of trust is essential over the long term, the hotline can play an immediate role in allowing students to take a responsible, rather than risky, course of action and potentially save lives doing it.
Co-founder and CEO, PAX/Real Solutions to Gun Violence