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7 Ways Parents Can Help Make Schools Safer

The new school year has barely begun and there have already been episodes of school violence. One child was killed in an altercation at a Houston-area school and a massive school shooting was narrowly averted at an Atlanta elementary school. Sadly, this is the world we live in.

Last year, I received a message from my son’s school about a lock-down due to a stabbing at a nearby community college. At that point, I knew that I had to get more involved in school safety. The keys to safer schools are information and involvement. Parents must know what’s happening at their children’s school and they must get involved to help shape and implement safety and security policies.

During my 5 years as a safety professional, I learned many things about personal and organizational safety and security and I’d like to share a few of my recommendations.

Here are 7 ways parents can help make schools safer:

  • 7 Ways Parents Can Help Make Schools Safer 1 of 8
    7 Ways Parents Can Help Make Schools Safer

    Click through to read all 7 tips.

    Image by TownePost Network via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Talk to administration about safety and security procedures 2 of 8
    talk to school administrators

    At the start of each school year, it's important for parents to talk to the school's administrators about the safety and security procedures. You need to understand how frequently they have drills and how they handle real emergencies. What are the lockdown procedures? How will they notify parents if there is an actual emergency? These procedures should be reviewed and revised on a regular basis and parents should have some input on how they are implemented. Ask the school to give you a printed copy of the procedures to peruse and provide feedback. Make sure that the administrators hold regular safety and security training sessions with the staff and that the teachers are aware of the school's procedures.

    Image by U.S. Department of Education via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Observe a safety drill 3 of 8
    school fire drill

    One of the best ways to understand the school's safety and security procedures is to observe a drill. Administrators usually schedule these drills well in advance. Visit the school on one of the scheduled drill days and pay attention to how it's handled. Is the drill orderly? Are the teachers and administrators giving clear instructions? Are the children paying attention and following directions? If you observe things that concern you, express these concerns to the administration.

    Image by Mark Seymour via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Help your child to identify all exits 4 of 8
    exit sign

    Parents should be familiar with all areas of their child's school. Walk through the hallways with your child to identify all exits and escape routes. Exits should be clearly marked and easily accessible. If exits are blocked or locked, contact the administration to correct these problems. Try to get a printed layout of the school if it is available.

    Image by Mark Hillary via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Encourage your child to speak up 5 of 8
    school safety

    Encourage your child to observe his or her surroundings and talk to the teacher if something doesn't seem right. Saying something at the right moment could prevent a potential problem.

    Image by TownePost Network via Flickr Creative Commons

     

  • Attend School Board Meetings 6 of 8
    school board meeting

    Attend school board meeting and voice your concerns about school safety. Ask the superintendent and council members to discuss specific measures they are taking to improve school security through the district.

    Image by Maryland GovPics via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Keep contact information up-to-date 7 of 8
    address book

    Most school districts have system in place to notify parents in case of emergency. Make sure that your child's school has your home phone number, cell phone number, and e-mail address so you won't miss important alerts.

    Image by Michael Gorzka via Flickr Creative Commons

  • Participate in the school’s PTA or PTO 8 of 8
    pta meeting

    Join your school's PTA (Parent/Teacher Association) or PTO (Parent/Teacher Organization) and make school safety a regular agenda item. Encourage other parents to get involved to discuss these important issues.

    Image by U.S. Department of Education via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Connect with Frederick J. Goodall on Mocha DadTwitter, or Facebook.

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