School violence is becoming more prevalent in our society. Children are besieged by peer pressure, bullying, drugs, and gangs. While it is the school district’s responsibility to provide a safe environment that is conducive to education, parents can also take an active role in making schools safer for their children.
School districts are taking more precautions concerning safety issues. Many schools keep outside doors locked at all times. Visitors are monitored closely and must check into the school office. Dress codes include the banning of long coats, and shirts must be tucked in to prevent students from more easily hiding a weapon. In some schools, backpacks are no longer allowed, or if a student can have a backpack, it must be clear.
Safety issues come into play as old schools are being remodeled and new schools are being built. School designs now consider how easily a building can be secured in case of a threat or emergency. Dark corners and hallways are being eliminated, and bathrooms are more strategically placed near administrators offices. Some schools even have metal detectors.
What can you do to make your child’s school a place of safe learning? You need to become an active parent. If your child’s school has a parent/teacher organization (PTO), you should sign up as a member and volunteer your time whenever possible. If your school doesn’t have a PTO, why not organize one yourself? Try to get to know as many parents and students as possible. The more involved a community is with its schools, the more chance the schools have of remaining safe havens for children.
If your school doesn’t already have an after-school care program or afternoon tutoring program, you may want to contact your local board about initiating one. This would give students a place to go in the afternoons. The key is to keep these children off the streets and away from gangs. Gang violence on the street can continue into the halls of the school building.
Hopefully, your school already has some type of mediation and/or mentoring program in place. If you feel that your child has anger management issues, let your school’s guidance counselor know. Encourage your child to attend any type of anger management or mediation programs that are available.
You can continue to emphasize communication skills to your child at home. Let your child know that the appropriate behavior you expect to see in your home should also be present at school. Work with your child on solving her problems and controlling her anger.
Your school should have a discipline procedure handbook in place. Be sure and review with your child the expectations and guidelines that are in this book. Let him know that he has the right to be educated in a safe environment.
Encourage your child to come to you and to his guidance counselor if he feels threatened in any way. If bullying is becoming a problem at your child’s school, instruct him to walk with a group of his friends from class to class. Review common sense procedures with him, such as not talking to strangers before, during, or after school.
Finally, if your child exhibits any change in her behavior, try to talk to her about any problems she may be encountering in school. You may have to set up an appointment to discuss your son or daughter with the school counselor and/or administrator. Let your child know that she has the right to attend school safely and without fear.Finally,