ONCE again, a school is the scene of an inexplicable massacre. How can a community in Colorado, or in any other part of the world come to terms with the social conditions that generate such inhuman behaviour?
Children are vulnerable and an easy target for violence and as schools are where children assemble, they are also vulnerable. No school can be, or would want to be a fortress that would be little better than a prison.
Although acts of terrorism may be impossible to prevent, schools can develop security strategies to reduce the risk of intrusion and assault. Schools are well-placed to promote an ethos of non-violence, for the well-being of their own members and as a model for the wider community.
Last month the Forum on Children and Violence launched its campaign towards a non-violent society with the first publication of Checkpoints for Schools, which enables schools to audit their existing practices and gives advice on further measures that might be taken.
The campaign received the warm support of Charles Clarke, minister for schools and attracted attention from all sectors of the education service. Checkpoints for Schools is available from the forum.
George Varnava Forum on Children and Violence National Children's Bureau 8 Wakley Street London EC1V