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Prevention Intervention Center

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Violence

An Assessment Tool for Predicting Violent Juvenile Behavior

After studying common characteristics of youths who have committed school-associated shootings, the National School Safety Center has identified warning signs that indicate the potential for violent behavior in such young people. While no foolproof system exists for identifying potentially dangerous students who may become campus assassins, using the following checklist can help focus an educator's attention on young people who need help with handling their feelings and behaviors. If an adult ticks off more than four of these signs in connection with an individual student, it would be wise to alert the school's student assistance professional or school counselor so the young person can get the help he or she needs.

1. _____Has a history of tantrums and uncontrollable angry outbursts.

2. _____Characteristically resorts to name calling, cursing or abusive language.

3. _____Habitually makes violent threats when angry.

4. _____Has previously brought a weapon to school.

5. _____Is preoccupied with weapons, explosives or other incendiary devices.

6. _____Has a background of serious disciplinary problems at school and in the community.

7. _____Has a background of drug, alcohol or other substance abuse or dependency.

8. _____Is on the fringe of his/her peer group with few or no close friends.

9. _____Has previously been truant, suspended or expelled from school.

10._____Displays cruelty to animals.

11._____Has little or no supervision and support from parents or a caring adult.

12._____Has witnessed or been a victim of abuse or neglect in the home.

13._____Has been bullied and/or bullies or intimidates peers or younger children.

14._____Tends to blame others for difficulties and problems s/he causes him/herself.

15._____Consistently prefers TV shows, movies or music expressing violent themes and acts.

16._____Prefers reading materials dealing with violent themes, rituals and abuse.

17._____Reflects anger, frustration and the dark side of life in school essays or writing projects.

18._____Is involved with a gang or an antisocial group on the fringe of peer acceptance.

19._____Is often depressed and/or has significant mood swings.

20._____Has threatened or attempted suicide.

 

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