Workplace Violence Significantly on the Rise

  • By Antoinette Tuff
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  • Posted Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Before the police arrive in a workplace violence incident, especially in an active shooter situation, a lot can happen. I know first hand how in the first few minutes of my interactions with Michael Hill dramatically changed the situation. If I panicked or had a gun at my disposal (lawmakers are purposing to arm administrators, teachers, and support staff), I am sure that the outcome would have been very different with many injuries or probably death. It still amazes me that my school active situation is the only event in the US in which there were no deaths or injuries.

No matter who initiates a violent workplace confrontation, the deadliest situations involve an active shooter. U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines active shooter as someone “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”

Rather than using run, hide and flight, the usual reactions to a violent situation, I used my Tuff tactics, compassion, confidence, and control, which are textbook hostage negotiations tactics (which I learned after the fact). Even though our school district, commonly had fire drills and intruder alert which included a school lockdown protocol, I was not formally trained on what to do if I was confronted by an active shooter and how to handle the situation.

Thankfully, my intuition kicked in and I was able to reason with a troubled young man who realized that “everything was going to be ok” if he peacefully surrendered his gun. It is my goal to help individuals that could be in a similar situation be better prepared with a new set of tools, my Tuff Tactics since workplace violence-related deaths and injuries are significantly on the rise.  Injury Facts lists data for workplace violence-related deaths, and injuries resulting in days off of work, across various occupations. Here are some statistics for 2013:

  • Government: 37,110 injuries, 128 deaths
  • Education and health services: 22,590 injuries, 35 deaths
  • Professional and Business Services: 4,460 injuries, 65 deaths
  • Retail: 2,680 injuries, 127 deaths
  • Leisure and hospitality: 2,380 injuries, 107 deaths
  • Financial activities: 1,100 injuries, 37 deaths
  • Transportation and warehousing: 840 injuries, 71 deaths
  • Construction: 680 injuries, 36 deaths
  • Manufacturing: 570 injuries, 36 deaths

My question to you is what policies and procedures are you putting in place for workplace violence or are you waiting for it to knock on the door of your business or home?

Teaching Others – Tuff Tactics

  • By Antoinette Tuff
  • /
  • Posted Monday, March 25th, 2019

My speaking career has been an amazing journey. I started out recounting how all of the challenges in my life prepared me for a purpose to save more than 870 lives, but it has evolved into teaching others how to handle difficult situations based on the strategies, Tuff Tactics, that I used in convincing Michael Brandon Hill, a troubled young man to peacefully surrender his gun.

My Conversation in the Crosshairs presentation focuses on preparation as a key to success in a life-threatening or hostile situation. I use events of that fateful day to illustrate my Tuff Tactics, which include cautious compassion, clever confidence and taking control of the situation. It is hard to believe that I am one of the few individuals that survived a conversation in the crosshairs of an AK-47.  Last year I gave this presentation at the  Texas School Safety Center: Annual Texas School Safety Conference.

I am still humbled when I reread some of the coverage, including that on MSNBC

“She did all the things we try to teach negotiators,” said Clint van Zandt, former FBI profiler and hostage negotiator, on NewsNation Thursday. “She was a great ‘go-between,’ she identified with the aggressor, she offered help, she minimized what he had done, she helped develop a surrender ritual, she told him what to expect, and told the police what to expect, she offered love, said she was proud of him, she offered him a positive future–every one of those things is something we spend weeks teaching negotiators, and this lady did it intuitively.”

To learn more about my Conversation in the Crosshairs presentation, check out