School Shooter Warning Signs Parents Need to Know

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Playing Mom Faces Charges after Her Son Exchanged Gunfire at His Middle School

While discussing the case of a teen who took his own life after exchanging gunfire with police officers at a middle school, The Doctors share the signs of a possible school shooter parents need to be aware of.

Watch: What Are the Known Similarities in School Shooters?

The panel explains that some common similarities among school shooters can be:

  • Feeling disenfranchised, feeling alone, not feeling understood by anyone
  • Blaming others for their misfortunes, and taking no personal responsibility
  • Wanting to leave a mark, and are willing to take on even negative attention
  • Often being radicalized by online propaganda
  • Victims of childhood abuse and neglect
  • Triggered by stress or getting bullied

Clinical psychologists Dr. Lisa Strohman and Dr. Judy Ho share what parents should watch out in their child, which may include:

  • A mood shift that is dramatic and out of character
  • A major withdrawal from their friends, family, or interests
  • Giving away belongings
  • Asking how you would feel if they were not there anymore
  • Talking about "judgment day"

They say oftentimes someone who commits a school shooting can seem very peaceful just before the incident, and Dr. Strohman says this because the person has already come to the decision to commit the violent act.

Watch: Mass Shooting Survivor Gets Treatment for Her PTSD

Dr. Strohman and Dr. Judy explain if a parent is concerned their child is exhibiting any of these signs to first speak with them and ask if they have ever had the urge or feeling to harm others, and they stress to not be afraid to ask direct questions and follow up with them, and they also note if a parent feels their child is going to cause imminent harm to contact authorities. 

Get more information and resources on school shootings and violence.

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