School Violence

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• How has responding to school violence changed since Columbine? Twelve years ago, two troubled students opened fire at their Littleton, Colorado High School, killing 13 people and themselves. The Columbine High School massacre will forever be remembered as the worst school shooting in U.S. history, and one that has drastically changed our nation’s school system and the way we respond to school violence.  Since this massacre many schools have heightened their security systems, adopted zero tolerance policies, and implemented plans to increase communication among students, teachers and faculty about violence, weapons, bullying and other threats. Schools and communities as a whole have had to become increasingly aware of the warning signs associated with troubled students and school attacks since Columbine, and students, faculty and parents have had to become much more watchful of their surroundings at school and pay closer attention to unusual behavior. Some schools have also starting taking special notice of outcasts and are encouraging inclusion to foster a sense of belonging and bridge the gap between students.

• How are teachers protected from violence?
Effective June 15, 2010 teachers have better health and safety protections in schools because of recent amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The revised Act requires school boards to take a variety of measures designed to protect teachers from violence and harassment in the workplace. School boards are now required to provide information, including personal information, to a teacher about a student with a history of violent behavior. School boards are not permitted to disclose more than is reasonably necessary to protect the teacher from physical injury. Section 43 of the OHSA grants workers the right to refuse unsafe work. Bill 168 amends this provision by adding that workers may refuse to work, or do particular work, “where workplace violence is likely to endanger...
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