Signs of a Dangerous or Distressed Child

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.

Early Signs

· 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

Developed Signs

· Fighting

· 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.

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