Violence in schools is a hot topic right now.
Parents often wonder if their kids are safe when they send them off in the morning. That fear was the topic of discussion at the Go Science event in Greenville.
Ironically, this discussion comes the same day a student stabbed another student at J.H. Rose High School.
Mark Stebnicki, a professor of addiction and rehabilitation at East Carolina University led Monday's discussion.
He was part of the crisis management team during the Westside Middle School shooting in Arkansas in 1998.
"It should come as no surprise when a student commits an act of violence; because if we have a good awareness of their mental health functioning and other aspects as how they're functioning in their family in their community and so forth. Then we can do some intervention strategies to decrease the risk of violence," said Stebnicki.
Stebnicki says one of keys to preventing violent acts is knowing some of the warning signs. He says there are small and large risk factors which parents, educators, and community members need to know about.
He also says there is a gap between schools and parents when it comes to addressing a child at risk for violence.
"We tend to compartmentalize adolescent mental health. We think parents are responsible for parenting and the school is responsible for educating students. A lot of times the boundaries are being blurred. I think we all need to come together to understand what those youth risk factors are so we can prevent any acts of violence in the future," said Stebnicki.
Lynn Cox, a teacher at J.H.Rose High School, says part of the solution is taking every threat or potential threat seriously.
"We need to take seriously anything that's going on. We can't play around with things. We can't consider things a joke that maybe people used to go oh maybe they're just kidding. We can't take the risk of that," said Cox.
The themes of the discussion were, knowing the signs, identifying kids at risk, and then doing something about it.