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The Way To Avoid School Violence?

At Von Stueben High School in Chicago, teachers and school administrators are using a controversial new technique to help identify students who may be prone to violence.

In doing so, Assistant Principal Phyllis Hodges explains, "We want to stop whatever aggression or feelings that a student has before it reaches a point where actually it's too late."

It's called student profiling, CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell reports. Using a computer program similar to those employed by the FBI to track down career criminals, counselors at nearly 30 schools across the United States are trying to spot students who may be a threat to their classmates.

"It's a series of questions based on situations that we will answer or attempt to answer about the student," Hodges says. "It would give my clues of what to look for in aggressive behavior."

Only students who say or do violent things are screened. The idea is get help for troubled students, Hodges explains, not stereotype them unfairly. "I see no reason for any student or parent to fear that we will unjustly identify their student as overly aggressive."

Dr. James Garbarino is the author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them. He's worried that some schools will misuse student profiles and blame the boys -- and almost all those responsible for school violence are boys -- instead of the culture they grow up in.

"There's a common thread that ties together most cases of lethal violence by kids and that is that they come out of families and communities where they're abused, neglected, emotionally deprived, they're not supervised."

It's a circumstance much like that of the six-year-old who killed a classmate in Michigan last week. Garbarino is not surprised at how young the killer was; surveys show that one-third of eight year olds say they could get a gun if they wanted.

According to Garbarino, "Virtually every school in the country, every elementary school, has boys who are very troubled, angry, who have access to weapons, whose heads are filled with scenarios of violence and revenge. It shouldn't be surprising that one of those boys slips through."