Give teachers tools to ID students who are ready to explode

A new Ohio law requiring public and private school teachers to be trained in recognizing students who may be considering suicide, and in doing something about it, is an excellent idea. But at the same time, another kind of training regarding youths with psychological problems should be provided.

While educators certainly have plenty on their plates already, they often notice disturbing behavior by students. Training them to intervene effectively, when necessary, may save lives.

Memories of what happened earlier this year in Chardon still are painfully clear. There, in February, a student opened fire in his high school, killing three youths and wounding several others. But for the actions of two heroic teachers, the toll might have been higher.

Could the student’s violent outbreak have been anticipated? That is difficult to say. Studies of youths who have committed similar crimes indicate behavior identifying a potential killer can be difficult to spot.

Providing at least some education in what can lead a student to become homicidal could save lives in Ohio schools. So state officials should consider a new requirement, working hand in hand with the one intended to prevent suicides. It could give teachers and school administrators the tools they need to recognize youths who are self-destructive and/or ready to explode in rage.