A school shooting expert says there are warning signs a child may be considering committing a violent act.

Suicide threats and attempts, self-injury, and depression are among the signs a child could be dangerous, according to Ann Bauer, a school shooting expert and the chair of Cleveland State University’s Counseling Administration Department.

Bauer said students may also appear depressed and withdraw from activities or stop caring about their appearance.

However, Bauer also said there may be no obvious warning signs a child is deeply troubled.

“I don’t think you can always tell. That’s the scary part. And, as a parent, I think if you have a child that you’re worried about, you need to talk to someone outside of the family and get some kind of assessment done,” she said.

But even that may not be enough. “The sad truth is that we aren’t very safe. I think events like this (school shootings) are upsetting because it reminds us that there’s not a way to make it impossible. There’s ways to make it harder and less likely. There’s not ways to completely stop it from happening,” she said.

Bauer was a professor at Arkansas State University when two students opened fire at a middle school near Jonesboro, AK in 1998. She was one of the first counselors to arrive at the scene to help students and their families cope with the tragedy. Since then, Bauer has studied school shootings to help those affected by them and to work to prevent them.

If someone in your family needs help, call the Ohio Crisis Response Team . They offer counseling in the wake of traumatic events and can direct to resources in your area.

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