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Ensuring Your Child’s School Safety

Ensuring Your Child’s School Safety

Summer vacation is a great time to let the hair down and relax in the joy of families and friends coming together for fun in the sun. But when June, July, and August vacations yield to the first day of school, reality sets in and parents are forced to realize that their children will spend more time in school than with them, meaning they relinquish some control.

As moms and dads put kids back on the school bus at 7 a.m. or drop them off at the front door of the schoolhouse, there can be an overwhelming rush of fear. In light of the media’s sensationalized reporting of episodes of school violence, including school shootings, many parents sit in their cars asking, “Is it safe to send our children to school? Does the local school even know how to respond should something really bad happen? Will a student bring a gun to my child’s school?”

If these questions have crossed your mind as you’ve taken a deep breath, plastered on a fake smile, and waved goodbye to your 7 or 17 year old walking into the school doors, then you’re not alone. These are normal and good questions, and it’s pretty easy to get answers.

Remember that schools, like parents, want to keep children safe. The phrase “in loco parentis” means “in place of the parents,” and our American courts have determined that the school assumes the role of parent during school hours. This means that your child’s school shares an intense need and motivation to ensure the safety and wellness of each and every student. In short, your child’s school wants what you want; to keep everyone safe, secure, engaged, and free from any threats or dangers.

But how can you know for sure that your school is taking the right safety steps to minimize and eliminate threats or risks? Well, you observe and ask key questions, including the following:

  1. When you enter a child’s classroom look for the posted fire evacuation plan/map
  2. Ask school leadership if the school practices lockdowns and mass evacuation drills
  3. Ask if there is a single point of entry, meaning any visitor to a school must go through one primary door (Note: this is often difficult in large high school settings, so if there is not a single entryway, ask the school how they reduce the threat of unwanted visitors to campus.)
  4. Ask to see the school safety plan (Note: Some states do not require a safety plan, but it’s rare to find a school without some sort of plan that addresses emergencies.)
  5. Ask the school to explain their threat and risk assessment procedures/protocols. Every school district should have a threat assessment team or a group of teams that serve local schools.

Most importantly, feel free to ask for a dedicated time to sit down with school leadership to understand their adopted approach to keeping your child safe. As a parent, you deserve to feel safe about your child’s school safety, and the right questions will give you peace of mind!

By: Dr. Lori Brown is a southern writer and educator who enjoys inspiring families to live faithfully with the Lord.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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