working togetherSchool Safety and Parental Involvement
How parents can be an active part of their child’s safety at school
In today’s rapidly evolving world, ensuring the safety of our children in schools has become a top priority. Parents play a pivotal role in contributing to the overall security of schools. By actively engaging in school safety measures, parents can foster a secure learning environment for their children. Let’s explore the essential role parents play in enhancing school safety and the impact their involvement can have on the well-being of students.
Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to ensuring school safety
Staying informed about school safety policies, emergency procedures, and potential threats is crucial. I work with preschools and daycare providers. Some use software for parents to check their children in and out of the facilities. Many still use pen and paper logs. Parents are busy. They sometimes forget to sign their children in, but the critical issue is when they forget to sign their children out. If there is an emergency and a teacher is checking the attendance against the list of children signed out, valuable time can be lost looking for a child who is already with their parent. Because a parent did not follow the policy to sign their child out of the building, the teacher or staff is focused on looking for a ‘lost’ child rather than keeping all the children safe.
Every school should (I hope yours does!) have a plan for reuniting children and parents after an event. Depending on the event, this can range from a controlled release to a full-scale reunification. Although the exact details are not shared with parents beforehand for safety reasons, parents should know there is a plan and how they will receive information on how their child will be released. We will never be able to say it enough and parents will never listen, but we need to stress the importance of NOT coming to school during an event. Their vehicles could block First Responders from getting to the scene, or ambulances going from the scene to the hospital. The parents’ actions at the scene could distract law enforcement from ending the event and securing the scene.
Let parents know that your school is an active participant in their child’s well-being
If we are going to reduce the acts of violence in schools and, more importantly, reduce the number of suicides in teens and young adults, we must make sure parents and staff are looking for signs a child that might be in crisis. As a parent whose child was in crisis, knowing who to talk to and where to get help made all the difference. When a school reaches out to a parent because of concerns regarding behaviors of their child, the parent needs to know the school is calling to help, not punish or disengage the child.
One of my many recommendations for teachers is to call their parents early in the year to introduce themselves and share something positive about their child. Starting the year off with a positive contact can go a long way if you need to have a difficult conversation later in the year.
Schools must engage parents in their child’s safety at school. When parents actively participate in school events, safety workshops, and community-building activities, they contribute to the creation of a supportive network for their children. A united community is better equipped to address safety concerns, implement preventive measures, and respond swiftly to emergencies.
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How does your school promote parental involvement in safety efforts?
What challenges do you face promoting parental involvement?