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Many factors lead to school violence

The rash of school violence across the country and the recent "hit list" discovered at Ironton High School have left education professionals scrambling for answers to the school violence problem.

Thursday, April 05, 2001

The rash of school violence across the country and the recent "hit list" discovered at Ironton High School have left education professionals scrambling for answers to the school violence problem.

Lawrence County school psychologist Ed Kittinger said there is a multitude of factors that could lead to students committing violent acts at school.

"It’s hard to predict the who, when and where of school violence," Kittinger said. "There’s a lot of confusion out there."

Kittinger said it is important for parents and educators to watch for signals that a child is experiencing trouble at school.

"Kids will always tell somebody else if they are considering a violent act," Kittinger said. "We need to explain to kids that if someone tells them they are going to do something violent, it’s all right to tell someone, it’s not ‘ratting’ someone out. In this situation, it’s okay to tell."

He added that children need to have someone they can talk to and "know they will be safe."

Kittinger outlined some of the warning signs parents should look for in children. He said it is important for people close to children watch for depression or frustration in the child. He also said a self-defeating attitude, illusions of grandeur, such as "going out in a blaze of glory," and other confused thinking should be warning signs to parents.

"In general, there is a more heightened sensitivity to school violence," Kittinger explained. "People think Lawrence County is safe, rural…which it is, but kids get confused here just the same as they do anywhere else.

"When you look at the statistics…I still think school is the safest place to be," he added.