A proactive approach to school safety

As we reflect on the tragic event that occurred in Connecticut within the past few months it brings sadness and sorrow to us fellow Americans.

I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that has been inflicted onto the victims, families, educators and emergency personnel that have had to deal with this heinous crime.

This article actually is difficult to write because of the emotions that it brings, but I feel that the topic of school safety must be addressed with our children.

Topics such as this seem to be revisited when unfortunate events like this occur. I feel that we can all safely say that no community is immune to violence.

My purpose of this article is not to find rhyme or reason as to why events like this occur, but to speak openly about what we can do as educators and parents to maintain safety, and educate our youth about the potential for violence in our schools.

Where do we go from there is the question to ask ourselves? I truly believe that we must maintain an open dialogue with our children, regarding the potential for danger within their respective school.

We as educators and parents must be realistic with our children and students that there always is a possibility that life threatening events have the possibility of occurring in their school.

I feel that this becomes a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach.

There are many safety measures that are in place within our local schools. It is important that our students understand why they are in place and what importance they play. Having random safety drills for our students is an excellent exercise that should be practiced several times throughout the academic year.

We also should explain to our students that it is important to keep a keen eye for suspicious individuals both inside and outside our schools and to report them to a staff member immediately.

The truth of the matter is that if someone enters a school with a weapon of mass destruction there becomes a disadvantage to the staff and students within, but let’s give our staff and students every advantage that we can. We have to be transparent with the student body, so they feel a sense of importance regarding the potential for danger within their institution.

We also must ask ourselves if our child’s academic institution is meeting the proper and sufficient safety requirements.

Our investigations may or may not reveal a need for upgraded safety policies and additional safety oriented technology.

Schools are sacred places where we want to find innocence, but many times bullying brings great danger to our students as well. The practice of bullying can occur at all age and grade levels. In the next article I want to discuss the dynamics of bullying and how we can help our children and students deal with this unwanted phenomenon.