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A Lesson On School Safety

The start of a school year usually brings out a variety of emotions in kids, depending on what grade they are entering and how anxious they are to return. Many will express worry school violence will return with them. Psychologists say it is important for both parents and students to be proactive in order to combat school violence, reports Correspondent Dr. Steve Brody of CBS affiliate KCOY-TV in Boston.

The American Psychological Association has announced it will soon launch a new program called "The Reason To Hope Project." It aims to teach kids how to solve problems without violence and prevent development of violent behavior by educating young kids.

Psychologist Elizabeth Carll, author of the new book Violence in Our Lives, says that if you know the warning signs, you can stop violent behavior before it starts.

"Especially important is a history of violence. That's first and foremost. Also having difficulty controlling anger, making frequent threats to hurt others; that's also a very important factor," she says.

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Experts say a fascination with weapons, drug or alcohol problems, torturing animals, and becoming a part antisocial groups are all signs a parent may need to seek counseling for their child.

Encouraging your children to get involved in extracurricular activities is also crucial, experts say.

"For a lot of at-risk kids, being away from the central part of school is a big problem. And so being integrated within the school is critical," says Fernando SorianoPh.D., Director, National Latino Research Center.

Dr. Fernando Soriano of the National Latino Research Center says research shows high schools that teach kids how to negotiate conflict, to reject alcohol and drugs, and provide counseling for kids who appear to have problems can help prevent violence.

Perhaps the most critical way to keep kids from turning their anger outwards is by ensuring kids have an elder person to whom they can turn.

"We looked at kids' exposure to violence, and one of the things that differentiated the kids who were exposed, who had the most problems with drugs and behavior was parents weren't around for dinner, parents weren't always there at might. The majority of kids said they didn't have somebody they could talk to," says Dr. Ray Lorion, of Ohio University.

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