How to talk to your teen about school violence

A group of people sitting in front of each other.

Teenagers are dealing with so much every single day. School has become overwhelming with the number of school shootings we constantly hear about, not to mention the typical teenage stress students face daily. 


What did the teacher just ask me to do? Where to go next? Who will I sit by at lunch? 

And so on …


Most schools in the US are now employing School Resource Officers (SROs). Letting your student know that SROs are there to ensure safety is helpful. 


Does your teen know their SRO? Have they ever had interaction with him or her? 


Recently, I walked around several schools, escorted by the SRO, and everyone loved her. She

engaged with the students in such a loving and protective way. It was heartwarming to see so many students looking up to her with such respect. 


Ask your Teen if they know their SRO.


Having a relationship with the SRO is a good way to keep communication flowing. 

Encourage your teen to tell the SRO if they see something odd or concerning and let them know that it is not tattle-tailing or gossip. It’s keeping their school safe. 


Obviously, telling any staff is important but telling the SRO can help your teen feel empowered and safe.


Middle School and High School kids are More Vocal


Middle school and high school may express strong opinions and fears surrounding this issue. They want detailed explanations on how they are being kept safe at school. Share with them what you know and if you both need more information. Help them ask school staff. 


Always be open to listening without interrupting. They may talk about why they think school shootings happen. Remind them that they have a part in keeping their school safe. Reporting safety concerns to the staff and SRO is part of their job. 


They should be aware of the locked door policies and not let anyone enter without going through proper channels. 


Your Teen’s Opinion Matters


Your teen’s opinion matters. Ask them what the safety procedures look like and if they think the rules should be different. Does their school have school lockdown drills? Does their classroom have lockdown shades? These always make kids feel safer. They feel safer knowing that the shooter cannot see into the classroom. Shutters provide total black out of view into the room without fail. 


How to Stop Teenage Anxiety


Even with all these protocols in place, kids can still be afraid. This is normal. Make sure you are looking for signs of concern that have turned into anxiety. 


Some of these signs are:

  • Changes in behavior or acting out
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical symptoms (headache, stomach ache..)
  • Not wanting to go to school


Don’t be afraid to reach out to a school counselor or therapist to help you navigate these fears with your kids. 


It may be a good idea to limit TV viewing of events around kids. The media is good at what they do and watching it can be very upsetting. 


Keep a normal routine and don’t forget to control your own reactions to upsetting news around kids. Model good behavior.


Teenagers are resilient and you’ve done a great job safeguarding them at home. Let’s help safeguard your teenagers at their school. Together we can keep them safe and help them cope in an ever-evolving world. 

To learn more about Shelter Shutters for your school, call us at 1-800-624-1695 or email us at