Unity Magazine

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Even though there is a lot of media coverage about violence in the schools, the fact of the matter is that overall schools are very safe for children. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, around 90% of schools report no serious violent crimes even though more than half do experience non-violent crimes such as vandalism and theft. Additionally, not all school safety has to do with violent crimes. Most parents are also concerned about playground safety and bullying as well. Because of this, school officials know that the threat or even thought of possible dangers in schools weighs heavily on parents’ minds, so they do go through necessary steps to help increase and ensure the school safety. Here are some things to look for if you are concerned about the safety of your child’s school:

Safe Behavior Skills. Schools should have mediation programs as well as programs to teach children how to manage their emotions (particularly anger). Within these programs, students should also be taught the importance of alerting adults if they see, hear or sense that anything might be amiss.

Extracurricular Activities. Schools that offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities, especially those that focus on highly at risk students will give students alternatives to joining gangs and participating in dangerous activity.

Modern Building Designs. To keep students safe, newer school buildings have centrally located administration offices, restrooms near offices, no dead end hallways and convenient exits throughout to increase the safety of the building. Additionally, with the centrally located administration offices, school officials can more easily monitor visitors to the school buildings.

Schools should now require visitors to check in at the office as well as wear a badge that signifies them as a visitor that has properly checked in at the office.

School Safety Plan. Does your child’s school have one and is it up to date? If your child’s school doesn’t have a safety plan, as a parent you can request that they create one. Additionally, it should be reviewed each year to make sure that all school personnel understand it and to make sure it is still relevant and make any necessary training and updates. The school safety plan should list the procedures for a variety of crises ranging from natural disasters to threats to hostage situations.

Playground Safety. Playground equipment should be monitored periodically to ensure that it is in good condition. Additionally, all equipment should be free of sharp edges and objects and spaces that could trap a child. Furthermore, all children should be carefully monitored on the playground at all times.

Additionally, as a parent, you can keep tabs on what is happening in your child’s school by volunteering in the classroom, library or other areas of the school that are in need of volunteers. Being active in the PTA allows you to meet the teachers and other parents as well as know what activities are going on in the school. Finally, actively try to meet your child’s friends to help foster a sense of community within your child.