School Safety Tips for Parents
With violence in schools seemingly on the increase it might be a good time to look at some tips that parents can incorporate to help keep their kids safe. Ask about the safety and emergency plans for your children’s school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies have been considered and planned for?Keep an eye on your children’s Internet use. Many elementary schools have computers with Internet access. Ask your children’s school if students are monitored when they use the Internet or if there is a blocking device installed to prevent children from finding explicit websites and talk to your children about what they do online.Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school they should tell an adult.Talk to your children about their day. Sometimes children won’t tell you right away if they are having problems at school. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.Teach children to resolve problems without fighting. Explain that fighting could lead to them getting hurt, hurting someone else, or earning a reputation as a bully. Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.Be aware that often bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus – who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.If you want to really take an active role to ensure that your child’s school is a safe one, you might want to talk to administrators and other parents about implementing the National Crime Prevention Council’s “Be Safe and Sound in School” program that seeks to raise awareness of school safety and security issues while also providing the tools and resources needed to address them effectively.