Do you have an inkling of the warning signs?

Most people, including security professionals don’t have an inkling of the warning signs for preventing workplace or school violence. Many are genuinely surprised at how many there are. Those in the field of preventing these incidents know these by heart but… Those who don’t deal with it daily aren’t inclined to know them because of the numerous other business issues they must tackle daily.

There are 22 warning signs that people must watch for in others, from pre-teens into adulthood. Some of them are simple and easy to spot. Some of the others are usually dismissed as an aberration of the hormones and mood swings common to teenagers and some adults.

However, having said that, if we don’t recognize these warning signs, then we might be opening the school or business up for an invitation to a violent incident. Whether that be a very loud verbal tirade by someone directed at another or a deadly one with knives or firearms.

We can either choose to act upon or ignore these signs is something that I’ve said for nearly 2 decades. As a rule, everyone in the school systems and working in this country will exhibit several of these at one time or another. But, having as many as 5 of these is probably nothing to worry about. When these signs begin to multiply into 7, 9, 10 or more…it is time to worry or get them into therapy or counseling.

Many schools and businesses will ignore or sweep these signs under the proverbial rug to get rid of them, as in Parkland Florida before that tragedy. Neither one of those is a true viable option. Eventually, if the individual isn’t confronted and helped, they may just explode on others either in school or the business and that can cause many more issues than not wanting a confrontation.

I will not give explanations to any of these warning signs, because I think they are self-explanatory;

Attendance Problems                             Bullying

Continual Excuses                                   Concentration Problems

Cruelty to Animals                                  Disciplinary issues

Drug and Alcohol Abuse                         Fascination with Weapons

Free Expression                                       Impact on supervisory/instructor time

Inconsistent Work Habits/Decreased Productivity

Known Mental Illness                            New Religious/Political Fervor

Obsession with Military/Police Tactics

Poor Health and Hygiene                       Poor Relationship Skills

Safety Concerns                                      Serious Stress

Threats both open and veiled        Unshakable Depression

Unusual or Changed Behavior                Violent Music, Movies and Video games


Do you know of anyone who is exhibiting these signs, either at your children’s school or where you work? Could they be a loved one, friend, or even a significant other? Anyone can exhibit these signs and it is normal for us to show several of these signs during our life, but are they piling upon one another at one time and showing more than a few at a time?

As I stated above, nearly everyone will exhibit some of these sometime in their life. But it is when they begin to manifest, and increase is when to start worrying about the individual and the people around them. Remember we can either choose to act upon or ignore these signs.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses & schools to safeguard the lives of their employees & students to lessen their risk of violence as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his website, twitter@robertsollars2, or by e-mail at

He is the author of 2 books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses:

Never to Grow-Up: Preventing Violence in our Schools

One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence

both available on Amazon. His upcoming book will be available in May, watch for more details on

Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear


Permission to reprint? Of course, with these guidelines; the original content must be printed in full of original wording, with grammatical corrections, and full attribution.

Copyright 2018 Robert D. Sollars

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