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New Book Offers Steps for School Violence Prevention

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With school lockdowns now sadly routine for students and teachers in the face of recent school shootings, educators may feel the need to become versed in violence prevention. A new book from Andra Medea, an expert in conflict management, offers guidance.

In response to a number of recent mass school shootings, many books have come out on the topic of school violence. My colleague Amy Wickner recently shared two lists of other books on school violence (Part I and Part II). Unlike some of the other books on mass shootings, this one has specific steps educators can take to try to subdue violent people.

Medea's book, Safe Within These Walls: De-escalating School Situations Before They Become Crises (Capstone Classroom, 2014), offers classroom management advice for addressing students who are anxious, angry, or violent. The book, from a small publishing house for K-12 books, describes methods educators can use to subdue angry and violent students. One of the techniques Medea suggests for stopping fights is breaking students' eye contact by redirecting their gazeĀ at you or away from the other student and using simple directions, like, "Back up." Medea tries to analyze past school shootings, the actions educators and students took, and methods for replicating safe behaviors.

The book includes information about how the brain malfunctions when a person is angry and how to read this body language. There are also solutions for different age groups: K-2, 3-6, middle school, and parents. Useful summaries and specific steps for educators are provided at the end of each chapter.

The best and safest time to de-escalate aggression is before it starts, Medea writes. Observe physical cues like avoiding eye contact or mocking tones. By reading situations and students, educators can intervene before situations get out of hand, she writes.

The book can be purchased in stores or online. Medea can also be hired for workshops through her website.

What methods do you use in the classroom to de-escalate students and violent situations? Have you found any useful books on the topic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or by tweeting Education Week Commentary at @EdweekComm.

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