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Recent years have brought a wave of increased violence all around us. This includes the school environment too. Take for example the increase in gun violence in several parts of the world, shattering the illusion of schools being safe for children. Safety issues in school can stem from several situations, but they all have one thing in common – they have forced us to re-examine the system in order to protect our children better.
Importance of Child Safety in School
Children are our world’s most precious gift. But as children, they may lack skills to protect themselves. The responsibility falls on parents and schools to safeguard children and teach them these skills. It is even better to make the children aware of any situation that may be unsafe for them so that they can tackle such people or circumstances as soon as they encounter them.
A safe environment for children is also conducive to a better learning experience. Without the assurance of safety, students may be unable to focus on learning skills necessary for a successful education and future. Even viewing violence while growing up can traumatise them and have detrimental effects on their health.
There was a time when violence in school would rarely top a tiff between two students that ended with adult intervention. But the issue has escalated to such a dangerous level that in some parts of the world, school violence can be classified as an epidemic.
Tragic incidents like gun violence in schools seem to have several catalysts. So the best way to prevent situations like this is to provide adequate support to children or people who may seem unstable. Protecting children shouldn’t occur simply as a matter of public policy. It can start from home by strengthening values and teaching them to trust their conscience. Safety in our schools is essential to support academic and personal successes of each child in a nurturing environment.
13 Common safety rules at school for your children
1. Help your child memorise contact information
Ensure that young children know their full name, address, home phone number and how to use a phone. The school should have a record of emergency contact details that includes office phone, cell phone, home phone, etc. Make sure the child knows which adult to contact in case of an emergency.
2. Teach Them to be Alert and Vigilant
The child should know that he or she should not to leave the school premises unattended. Children have the tendency to lose their sense of space and time when they are playing and may easily get lost.
3. Always be Informed on Trips
In case the school is taking the children on a field trip, know where they’re going and who will be chaperoning the trip
4. Use Indicators Instead of Names while Labeling
Be careful when writing names on a child’s possessions for the purpose of identification. If confronted by an abductor, this may put them on a first name basis with the child. Try to place a distinct label, like red stars or bright green stickers, instead of names
5. Memorize Routes and Landmarks
Show the child landmarks and safe areas between school and home, so that they have somewhere to run to in case of emergencies. Train the children to use main roads and avoid shortcuts and isolated areas. In case they use the bus, make sure they know which one to use.
6. Awareness of Allergies
In case your child has any allergies, ensure that the school is aware of them.
7. Proper Emergency Procedure
See to it that the school has a proper plan in case of an emergency and that the children are properly trained. For example, every school should have a proper fire drill and emergency evacuation plan.
8. Be Hands On
Don’t hesitate to get involved. With the help of other parents, organising things like neighbourhood watches can drastically reduce abductions and may even improve traffic safety. PTA meetings are a great time to address common issues that kids face. Any problems should be reported to teachers as they could aid in solving them, together with you.
9. Strangers are a No-No
Teach children to be cautious of strangers. Teach them to walk away if any strangers approach them and ask for directions or offer them food. Kids should learn to trust their gut instinct and try to have drills or practices which would help them identify potential danger.
10. Keep Dangerous Items Out of Reach
Playing or experimenting with fire and sharp objects should be strictly forbidden be it at home, or in school. Children have to be made aware from day one that bringing weapons to school is a serious violation of safety.
11. Always Have a Point of Contact
Children should be encouraged to always check with their parents or a trusted adult for any issues that may come up. Several times, children are approached by strangers claiming that something has happened to their mother or father. Such predators thrive on the naivety of young kids. Make sure they know that if they are ever in a situation like that, they should first approach a teacher to tell them what happened.
12. Be the First to be Informed
If your child has any change of plans, make sure they know how to contact you. In case they decide to go to the park with a friend or to another friend’s house, make sure an adult you know will be present to supervise.
13. Don’t Tollerate Bullying
Teach children from a young age that bullying is an intolerable offence. In order to protect themselves, they need to know not to bully their peers.
Keeping children safe is no easy task. It is a hard truth for parents to accept that they cannot always be around to protect their child. But knowing that they are following these rules means parents can rest easier. As your child grows, it is important for them to independently understand what situations may be dangerous. But until then, follow these rules and rest easy knowing your child is safe at school and is enjoying the learning process.