Making School Safety a Priority

Just turning on the news can make it seem there is someone or something targeting our children every day. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2014, students ages 12–18 reported 850,000 victimizations (theft and violent crime) at school. And, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, an estimated 2.2 million children ages 14 and under sustain school-related injuries each year.

Schools across the country are continuing to make significant strides to end school injuries and on-site violence. Door access systems, on-site school security, school drills, metal detectors, new playground equipment, and security cameras have been installed intending to curb harmful outcomes.

Just as their public counterparts, private schools also face the same challenges when it comes to school safety. Different types of schools have various kinds of funding for these needs, but what gives private schools an advantage is that they can address those needs by individual school, not as an entire city or county. Private schools often have smaller class sizes and value-based curriculum, also proven to lower the rate of risky activities on campus. Parent involvement is also paramount when it comes to updating safety procedures and policies.

Students, parents, teachers, and the administration must work together in order to make the school grounds a safer place.

Some ways to achieve this include:

  • Know the safety measures your school has in place. Do you need to sign-in when you visit? Can you walk the halls without a chaperone? Do you need a visitor’s pass?
  • Familiarize yourself and your child on the school’s emergency procedures. This includes plans and phone numbers (usually located in the school handbook) and the location of school exits.
  • If you have a young child, make sure they have their address, full name, and phone number memorized.
  • Update your emergency contact form so that if you are not available if the school calls, a trusted neighbor or friend can pick up your child.
  • Have an honest conversation about safety with your kids. Explain to them that if something isn’t right, they need to tell their teacher.

School safety includes more than physical harm. It also includes bullying and threatening behavior. Parents and teachers should explain that it is ok for a student to tell them what is going on and have those concerns addressed quickly.

Schools are a place where learning and growing should occur without disorder and fear. By everyone working together to follow the rules, doing what is right, speaking up if something is wrong, and staying aware, we can make sure children continue to be protected, well cared for, and are conscious of their safety needs.