• Center for Problem oriented policing

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Appendix B: Warning Signs of Potential School Violence

NOTE: These signs have been extracted from a variety of sources46 and do not represent a scientific assessment, and should be regarded as speculative. Some warning signs of potential school violence may include a student who:

  • Has engaged in violent behavior in the past
  • Has tantrums and uncontrollable angry outbursts abnormal for someone that age
  • Continues exhibiting antisocial behaviors that began at an early age
  • Forms and/or maintains friendships with others who have repeatedly engaged in problem behaviors
  • Often engages in name calling, cursing, or abusive language
  • Has brought a weapon or has threatened to bring a weapon to school
  • Consistently makes violent threats when angry
  • Has a substance abuse problem
  • Is frequently truant or has been suspended from school on multiple occasions
  • Seems preoccupied with weapons or violence, especially associated more with killing humans than with target practice or hunting
  • Has few or no close friends despite having lived in the area for some time
  • Has a sudden decrease in academic performance and/or interest in school activities
  • Is abusive to animals
  • Has too little parental supervision given the student's age and level of maturity
  • Has been a victim of abuse or been neglected by parents/guardians
  • Has repeatedly witnessed domestic abuse or other forms of violence
  • Has experienced trauma or loss in their home or community
  • Pays no attention to the feelings or rights of others
  • Intimidates others
  • Has been a victim of intimidation by others
  • Dwells on perceived slights, rejection, or mistreatment by others; blames others for his/her problems and appears vengeful
  • Seems to be preoccupied with TV shows, movies, video games, reading materials, or music that express violence
  • Reflects excessive anger in writing projects
  • Is involved in a gang or antisocial group
  • Seems depressed/withdrawn or has exhibited severe mood or behavioral swings, which appear greater in magnitude, duration, or frequency than those typically experienced by students that age
  • Expresses sadistic, violent, prejudicial, or intolerant attitudes
  • Has threatened or actually attempted suicide or acts of unfashionable self-mutilation
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