De-escalation tactics can prevent violence in the school workplace

De-escalation tactics can prevent violence in the school workplace

By SFM Mutual Insurance Company

Employees in a variety of school-related occupations can find themselves in situations with the potential to be exposed to violence at work. De-escalation tactics can be used to defuse volatile situations so they don’t reach the point of violence.

What is de-escalation?

De-escalation is one technique that can be used when confronted with violent or aggressive behavior.

According to mental health and violence prevention professionals, de-escalation means “transferring your sense of calm and genuine interest in what an individual wants to tell you by using respectful, clear, limit-setting boundaries.” In short, de-escalation is the process of managing someone else’s behavior with your own.

How does the concept of de-escalation intersect with workplace safety?

As workplace violence (and often related mental health wellness) remains a continuously growing challenge for many school districts (e.g., between students, between students and teachers, and even between teachers), more and more are beginning to utilize and realize the benefits of de-escalation training.

Are there some general de-escalation tactics that apply universally?

While specific threats vary among industries, many de-escalation tactics apply universally (including school districts). Essentially, these tactics all require a state of calm, and operate around the cornerstone of active listening.

Moreover, general de-escalation tactics that apply universally include:

  • Respecting personal space
  • Maintaining safe body positioning
  • Giving clear, concise direction
  • Setting obvious boundaries
  • Conveying empathy
  • Establishing positive tone of voice

De-escalation resources

De-escalation training can be helpful to employees in many fields, and in school-related occupations particularly. To learn more about school-related de-escalation strategies and training, view these additional SFM resources:

Also, for more information about SFM Mutual Insurance Company and to access other risk management resources, visit the SFM website at


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