If you spend just a few minutes viewing viral videos going around the Internet (we don’t recommend it), it becomes easy to see why so many parents are nervous about school. Bullies on buses, fights in the hallways, shootings, even school resource officers dumping kids out of desks and dragging them across the floor. How safe is your child’s school?
We can’t shield our children from every detail of day to day reality.Yes, it’s a dangerous world across the board. We can keep the doors locked at night. We can make sure they wear a seatbelt in the car. We can SPF 100 their skin at the beach, but we can’t shield our children from every detail of day to day reality. School is a fact of life, and even in kindergarten, they let go of our hands and march through the school doors without us.
What’s an All Pro Dad to do? Is self-defense the answer? How about keeping a low profile? Do we teach our kids (and ourselves) how to cope or do we pull them out altogether? How safe is your child’s school? Check out the following ideas designed to keep kids safe at school.
Teach your kids to respect others.
The simplest way to gain respect is to give respect. Giving respect is different from trying to be everyone’s friend. Help your child understand how their kindness and the respect they offer others can create a more peaceful atmosphere for everyone. This applies both to students and adults. Not being disrespectful in the first place significantly lowers the odds of being hurt by a bad teacher or a bad cop.
Create a family culture where there are no secrets.
Children need to know that they can come to their parents with anything. Once any topic becomes taboo, it opens up the possibility that parents don’t want to know what’s going on in the kids’ lives. Like it or not, parents must have information at their fingertips. If you tend to react and repress certain topics, that’s a move away from safety.
Teach your children to be kind to those who are bullied.
Bullying can only continue with the consent of those who choose to do nothing. All children are valuable, and none should be pushed around. Sometimes all it takes is for one other child to come alongside a bullied child, and the victim culture will fall away. So teach your children to be leaders in kindness as well as respect. As a parent, ask for, advocate for, and support anti-bullying programs.
Know their environment (volunteer at school).
Be present at your child’s school. Don’t wait for conference night, volunteer. Get to know the names of your child’s teachers and the administrators. Be a visible presence.
Teach your child (and yourself) common sense survival skills.
Learn and make sure your child knows your school’s emergency response protocols. Panic usually occurs in response to confusion, so know the plan inside out.
Huddle Up Question
Call a family meeting, talk about safety, and ask the kids how safe they feel at school.