School Shootings and EBD: Is There a Link?
Emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) are strongly linked to aggressive inclinations. It should come as no surprise that many; if not all, school shooters have a history of these behaviors, and while there may be flaws in the system that prevent these individuals from receiving the help they require to address these issues, sometimes nothing can be done to avoid such tragedies.
Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: What Are They?
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Emotional and Behavioral Disorders are defined as:
“A condition showing one or more of the following characteristics over a long period and to a significant degree that negatively impacts a child’s educational performance”
(A) Failure to learn instigated by causes other than intellectual, sensory, or health.
(B) Failure to form or sustain positive interpersonal interactions with peers and teachers.
(C) Under normal conditions, inappropriate forms of behavior or feelings.
(D) A generalized feeling of sadness or despair.
(E) A propensity for developing bodily symptoms or worries in response to personal or school issues.”
On the surface, these qualities don’t appear to be overly extreme in and of themselves. Still, the issue is how these underlying problems emerge into more severe difficulties that harm the individual over time. As a result, the severe violent outbursts become a sign of the underlying issues at hand. It is made worse by the fact that EBDs may and can damage a person’s physical, social, and cognitive abilities in addition to their emotional issues.
General anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are all EBDs can take the form of.
EBD’s: What Causes Them?
There is no specific cause that is directly linked to an EBD diagnosis due to the broad nature of the diagnosis. Genetics, brain chemistry, familial environment (particularly at younger ages), stress, and other factors affect EBD.
This complicates the situation because there is not an option for specific preventative measures to be taken, forcing a more support-system model to try to mitigate the adverse effects of the EBD and, hopefully, eliminate the possibility of an individual escalating to violence, particularly in the form of a school shooting.
What Information Do We Require?
EBD’s can develop at any moment, and students may conceal their symptoms until it is too late for intervention. People can find an incredible escape in the internet world, but it also exposes them to a whole new level of abuse as cyberbullying becomes an ongoing problem. Educators and parents alike must be vigilant in their observations of their children and make every effort to detect any changes. They are on the front lines of assisting these children and adolescents in healthily dealing with their issues and providing them with the resources they need.
While the lack of a silver bullet for avoiding EBDs is distressing, there is still hope. Early screening is one of the most effective approaches for dealing with EBDs and mitigating their consequences, mainly due to parents’ and educators’ attentiveness.