With the latest school shooting that happened at the Sandy Hook school came yet another round of worrying and wondering how we can make school safer for our children. Even if more regulations are passed and mental health treatment becomes a well-developed system, it is not going to happen overnight. That’s why parents need to take action now, during the winter break. Yes, our children should feel safe walking into schools. Do parents realize their own responsibilities to this end?
Stop using schools as an all-encompassing daycare. Too many parents treat the school system as if it the magic wand for all things that need to be taught to children. Start by getting involved in all the things you want your child to learn. It is ridiculous that teachers have to waste time redirecting children for simple respect. That’s your job. Just as you can build upon the fundamental academic lessons your child’s teacher gives him or her, why not let the teacher build upon the fundamental social skills that you should be teaching your child at home? In this way we can make sure our children are not the ones being arrested at the school entrance.
Get involved with the school safety plan. Do you know what the safety plan is at your child’s school? What process do people have to go through before they can get in the door? I know I was relieved when after the school I was doing my student teaching at was placed on lockdown, a staff member abruptly stopped me in the hallway when she could not see my identification tag. Later, I did review the safety plan with administration because of the lack of information provided to substitute and student teachers.
Extend the safety plan. Even if your kids follow the school safety plan, is there anything you would add to it? For instance, students hiding under the desk are less likely to be noticed if they are small and quiet. Do they know why they need to stay seated and away from doors and windows? O your children even take the safety plan seriously?
Some of these things might seem over the top. Children should not have to worry about being safe at school. Even so, parents have an obligation to protect their children by whatever means necessary. I know I would still be wondering if I could have done more, but I am willing to be thankful that I did enough as well.