A Potentially Dangerous Situation in a High School

Below is an exchange that a friend of mine shared about a potentially dangerous situation that was resolved without incident.

Greetings Bob

I wanted to share correspondence (between an administrator and me) in reference to an incident that happened years ago in Minnesota.

A student came to me saying that a student, known to me, had a handgun on campus.  Jim, the administrator, and I acted immediately to find the student, search his locker and personal belongings and locate the (loaded) handgun.  The student who contacted me felt secure and confident enough in our relationship to know that it was safe to do so and that I would act without involving her.

It is critical that students feel comfortable talking to their administration, faculty and staff if they sense something is happening or about to happen in a school.  It is equally critical that administration, faculty and staff act decisively.

Relationship, relationship, relationship!   William Glasser, M.D. – Glasser Quality Schools


From: Al
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2018
To: Jim
Subject: Weapons in School

Following each and every school shooting, I am reminded that the very best intervention starts with students feeling comfortable talking with staff/faculty about potential problems.  You and I know something about that; acting quietly and efficiently to solve a potentially serious problem before it started.  Who knows where the situation with the loaded weapon at HP Senior High might have gone had it not been for the team work displayed – and most important, the student’s feeling comfortable talking to a trusted staff member.  No doubt you pass along to your staff and faculty that relationships with their students should be developed so trust and confidentially are engendered.


From: Jim
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2018
To:  Al
Subject: Re: weapons in school

I think about that day also… We were able to deescalate only because we worked together… So good to hear from you!


Hypocrisy in how we treat some students?

This is primarily directed to educators and parents.

Have you have ever made a diet or exercise plan?

Did you ever “break your plan” after 2, 3, 5 days?

Does that mean you weren’t sincere when you said it was important to exercise more or lose weight?

When I ask the question in my Choosing ExcellenceTM workshops, everyone says they were sincere, but it was difficult.

I agree!

If a student makes a plan for change and then has problems after 2 or 3 days, most educators say, “the student wasn’t serious about changing.” Or “They were just telling me what I wanted to hear.”

If an adult fails after a few days with a diet or exercise plan, does it mean that it wasn’t or isn’t a good idea?  Does it mean they weren’t serious?  Does it mean they were telling themselves what they wanted to hear?

In most cases the answer is “No.”  The plan began with sincerity and good intention.  Some changes are difficult.

My question is, if adults have difficulty changing, why shouldn’t a 5 year-old, 10 year-old, or 15 year old?

Ask one or several of the following questions.

  • Was the plan a good idea?
  • Is it still important to you improve ________?
  • Do you want to make any changes to the plan?
  • When will you recommit to the plan?

Learners Instead of Students

How, if in any way, would your classroom, school and/or district be different if the word “students” were replaced with the word “learners“?

In The School for Quality Learning: Managing the School and Classroom the Deming Way (1993), Crawford, Bodine and Hoglund consistently referred to the learners in the school.  From a Choice Theory® perceptions point of view, it seems that the word would help more adults and children focus more on the purpose of school being learning and less on grades and credits.  I started using learners a little more in the fall, but plan to commit to regular use in 2016!

Your thoughts and comments are welcomed!