With much school violence circling our society, I began wondering why teachers are not given more instruction on how to identify a potentially dangerous child. I also pondered on why teachers are not supported when they report a child that they feel is potentially dangerous.
Many people believe that because I work with five and six year old children, I do not encounter potentially dangerous or emotional distressed children. However, I believe that violent behaviors begin early. People do not start with murder. Violence begins in a minor state and gradually increases. Many children who commit school violence begin by hurting animals.
Therefore if we can identify a young child in early stages of violent behavior, we may possibly prevent something terrible from occurring.
Through all of these thoughts, I decided to research signs of a potentially dangerous or distressed child. The most important thing to remember when using a checklist is that one characteristic is not enough to identify a child. A child must display several listed characteristics and then carefully be evaluated by a specialist. Children should not be labeled solely by a checklist comparison. Also remember that your intentions are to help children not label and accuse.
· Withdrawal from friends and family/ playing, sitting alone
· Discusses feelings of not being wanted or not being liked by
· Lives or has lived in a violent home
· Poor grades and little academic effort
· Writes about violence or plays/pretends violent acts
· Outbursts of anger
· Bullies others
· Has behavior troubles
· Joins/interacts with gangs
· Threatens others
· Destroys personal belongings or property of others
· Violent/loud outbursts over minor occurrences
· Discusses violence in details
· Has a weapon
· Discusses suicide
If a child displays several early warnings signs, the child may need to talk with a counselor. If a child exhibits developed signs, precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of others. The police should be notified if the child discusses a specific name, time, or location when a violent act will occur or if a child possess or threatens the use of a weapon.