Safety in our schools has changed dramatically from the time I was a child. In recent years, criminal incidents have occurred and been brought to our attention by the media. The way to keep them from happening again is to stand up and recognize the importance of safety in our schools.
In his speech to students last week, President Obama said, “stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn.”
Although many schools are safe, others can be just as susceptible to crime and violence as other environments.
A study by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007, stated “59 percent of students report theft of personal property, and 28 percent intimidation by bullies, 43 percent being cyberbullied, as concerns that are more common than parents and school officials realize.”
Times have changed. Now we hear stories about sexting, which is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between cell phones. So we need to remember as times change, so does technology, and the way people may hurt each other.
What can we do as parents, school officials, or trusted adults? We need to listen and talk to our children regularly. Get involved in your child’s school system. If a child ever mentions being bullied or a threat, take it seriously. Look for any warning signs in a troubled teen, and always note that no child wants to be left unheard.
We are all affected by bullies, whether it is a 2nd grader being teased on the playground, or an 8th grader forwarding hurtful messages about a classmate.
Success in our school system requires more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. We all need to feel safe and secure in our schools. No one person can do this alone. It requires the help of all students, parents, schools, and law enforcement.
NCPC has a few safety tips to follow.
- Report suspicious behavior or any threats by a student to a teacher or counselor at your school.
- Respect others and their belongings.
- Volunteer some of your time at school helping out in your child’s classroom.
- Look for any warning signs of a troubled teen.
- Control access to the school. Have an appropriate check in process, and make sure any visitor is identified correctly.
To view more safety tips or to see any of NCPC’s brochures, check out our website.