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school climate

On July 8, 2008 I testified at a congressional hearing on school safety and bullying prevention. There I met Sirdeaner L. Walker, the mother of eleven-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover, who had recently died by suicide. Walker described in her testimony the bullying that Carl received at school and that he was repeatedly called gay. She described herself as an involved parent who tried to do everything right, and stated that she had informed school administrators about the bullying her son was subjected to at school.

Notification systems—which use the Internet to enable school administrators to make and send thousands of automated phone calls, text messages and e-mails in minutes—are expanding in popularity in school districts across the country.


When school administrators hear that the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School attack will arrive on April 20, 2009, most shake their heads in disbelief. They are amazed that 10 years have passed since this watershed event, which changed the landscape of K12 school safety.


With every new case of school violence, district leaders are urged to be proactive in hopes of averting potential violence. And experts say part of that proactive work comes from a threat assessment plan that every district should have.