As noted in a number of articles that I have written as well as a book (franwhiteauthor.com) and countless blogs on the topic of bullies, fatalities have continued on an epidemic level due to the absence of knowledge, immediate actions and the assessment of anti-bullying programs.
I have described a prescription for this lethal epidemic of mass shootings by victims of bullies who are displacing their rage on others. An immediate dosage of KNOWLEDGE on the description of a bully, ACTION or a prepared plan to take place immediately after the tragedy and deaths and an ASSESSMENT of the program or intervention provided to measure it’s effectiveness to cure the epidemic. I frequently use the term, “Village” which describes the educational institution, the governmental organization, the geographic location and, most of all the unit of the family.
Knowledge on the definition, behavior and identification of a bully is crucial. Action needs to take place immediately upon a shooting not weeks later with the assignment of competent clinical personnel to treat those effected by the tragedy. In an ideal world or village, competent clinical personnel should be assigned to schools to identify those future murderous individuals and victims of the bullies within the school or “village”. Lastly, programs and personnel need to be evaluated and assessed to determine the effectiveness of anti-bully interventions and the identification of dysfunctional students.
Upon my review of our current tragedy that just occurred at Santa Fe High School, Texas, ten deaths and ten wounded could have been prevented if that school and most others had “vaccinated” their village against this fatal epidemic of bullies and dysfunctional students with dosages of KNOWLEDGE, ACTION and ASSESSMENT.
As noted by the “red flags” that so few administrators, educators as well as students were knowledgable of ,the signs that contributed to that murderous day. The absence of knowledge on bullies and emotionally dysfunctional students was quite evident in the statements of the governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott, in which he declared that” the suspect had offered few clues that he would carry out a massacre of such scale.” He acknowledged that the suspect’s Facebook page did reveal his shirt which read, BORN TO KILL. Do note the photo that accompanies this article. The governor did say that the suspect had shared information about the shooting on both his cell phone and on his computer. Due to the fact that this student did not have a criminal record, “these red flag signs were either nonexistent or impossible.” In addition to the absence of knowledge on bullying and emotionally dysfunctional students, government officials, the school administrators and students lack the ability to identify this murderer of ten, Dimitrios. It was reported that, due to the brutal bullying of Dimitrios’s younger sister, she had to transfer to another school. He was also a victim of bullying by not only his peers but by his football coaches who stated,” He stunk, smelled like cr_p.”
Other signs that were ignored in addition to the bullying that he and his sister had to endure, Dimitrios, as reported by his peers, wore his signature trench coat and military boots in spite of the heat and humidity of Texas. He did wear this attire, including his BORN TO KILL shirt on the day of the shooting. Observant and ignorant fellow students jokingly commented that he “looked just like the Columbine shooters!” While in Junior High School, Dimitrios was an honor student , dressing appropriately but, as noted, this decline in academic performance was not noticed nor addressed by his teachers at the High School .Authorities reported that Dimitrios wrote on his online journals about his plans to attack the school and then turn his gun on himself.
This Texas “village”, indeed, lacked the ability to take the first step in preventing the deaths of innocent students and teachers. KNOWLEDGE on the effects of bullying and how it impacts upon dysfunctional students who displace their rage was not imparted to students nor adults. Upon further research, there appeared to be little ACTION in developing any prevention programs and clinical personnel to diminish the disease of “bullism” in response to the number of other fatal outbreaks that have occurred in the country. ASSESSING any programs or clinicians within this “village” is clearly non-existent since the first step or dosage had yet to be applied to prevent this epidemic of violence and death.
I do pray that my local school will never be the site of yet another tragedy which can, indeed, be prevented by our own “villages” in saving the lives of our children using a vaccine of KNOWLEDGE, ACTION and ASSESSMENT.