Sending your child to school builds excitement and a sense of pride for their growth and achievements. But it can also bring about concern and fear for their safety.
On the news, we hear about everything from severe bullying to open shootings at schools. For your child’s safety, equip yourself with important school safety tips, just in case the unthinkable happens.
13 school safety tips to keep your student safe
As summer comes to a close each year, we send our children off to school, trusting their safety in the hands of others. This can feel overwhelming when you think of everything that could go wrong.
Worrying will change nothing. Take action by learning these 13 back to school safety tips for parents that will help protect your child.
1. Learn school safety procedures
Every school has a set of safety procedures for the case of unfortunate events. Unfortunately, they rarely teach them to you or the kids.
Ask the school for a copy of these procedures. Read them over with your child so, if something terrible happens, they know what to do amongst all the mayhem.
2. Teach fire safety
Teaching your child fire safety at home will keep them safer with you and at school. They can transfer some knowledge to protect them in case of a fire at school.
All schools run fire drills and most go over fire safety. But it does not hurt to run refreshers from time to time.
Especially for younger children, make sure they know what the alarm means. If they scare easily, ensure they know to follow the procedure and not hide.
Make sure your child knows that smoke rises, so they should stay down in a smokey room. Also, teach them to stop, drop, and roll in case their clothes caught fire, as running will fan flames.
These lessons may seem redundant. But you want them to feel like second nature for them if it ever happened at school.
3. Know school routes
Take the time to learn all the roads leading to and from your child’s school. With an emergency, you want to get to your child and take them to safety.
During a panic situation, major routes often get backed up and blocked. Knowing your alternatives can open up important access for you.
4. Advocate for school safety
Schools all want to give the children the best education possible. But, the priority list can vary from district to district.
School safety can fall by the wayside when teachers try to fit in subjects, sports, enrichment programs, school trips, etc. Caring parents, like you, can help to make sure it becomes a focal point.
Talk to the administration about taking the load off of them. Form a parent group that creates and updates safety plans and works on keeping families informed.
Make arguments with the school about important security details, like why we need lockdown devices for classroom doors. Pushing for things like this will help it happen.
5. Open up the lines of communication
Talk to your child about school. Communication will both help them navigate emergency situations and let you in on red flags.
Many older kids avoid long conversations. Get them to open up by:
Making an observation Saying something about yourself Asking open-ended questions, rather than yes or no ones Keeping the conversation positive Knowing is half the battle. Stay actively aware of what goes on during your child’s school day so you can nip any concerns in the bud.
6. Emphasize kindness
Bullying continues to cause one of the biggest issues for school kids around the country. Prevent your child from joining in and help them defend others.
Do so by emphasizing the importance of kindness. One Harvard study showed that placing kindness above happiness and mentoring them as a kind role model helps them develop into nicer people.
Nice people do not prey on others. Also, they may be more likely to stick up for bullied kids. If you cannot end bullying at the source, prevent it by raising nice people.
7. Who cares for your little one?
We start sending children to pre-k at 4 years old. Though most teachers love kids and do right by them, small children trust authority and can fall victim to the bad apples in the bunch.
Get to know your young child’s caregivers at the school. Take opportunities, like open houses, to go in and meet them. Ask them questions about themselves.
Also, listen to the way your child talks about them. Listen for clues that they do not treat your child right.
Talk to other parents as well. Gossiping about the teacher will not help you. But asking questions and finding out how others feel about them will help you get a sense of this person spending most of the day with your little one.
8. Bring up uncomfortable subjects
Talk to your kids about sex and drugs, even when you think they do not participate. Believe it or not, kids in Jr. High and High School can get both at school.
Some kids bring drugs right to school and coerce others into buying them. Even if you raised a really good kid, they could sip to the need to fit in and look cool.
Sex might seem impossible, but teens find corners to slip into. They may also meet up after school while the parents work.
Bring up the dangers and the consequences. Sometimes the dangers do not stick, because kids may feel invincible. But the consequences of getting suspended long term or pregnancy may make them really think before they act.
9. Monitor social media
This may feel like an invasion of privacy, especially with older kids who you trust. However, it can help keep them safe at school.
Kids tend to post everything on social media. Then, other kids share it.
First, talk to your child about this. They need to understand that just one picture can lead to a nightmare at school.
Then, watch what others post as well. You can see how kids treat each other through posts and messages. This can alert you to anything serious going on.
10. Take threats seriously
Kids sometimes say off the wall things, as their brains are still developing impulse control. However, you should not brush off serious threats thinking that they simply said something they did not mean out of anger or frustration.
Threats to report include those that indicate:
- Hurting others
- Destroying a place
This can come in the form of spoken words, notes, or social media posts. You may feel like you do not want to start trouble but think of the consequences if the child follows through.
11. Watch for trends
We watched some scary trends come about over the past few years. The challenges mimic hazing rituals, and some came with serious consequences.
The Kylie Jenner Challenge led kids to suction their lips to make them bigger. While it sounds harmless, some suffered permanent scarring and indentations.
The Snorting Condoms Challenge happened as the name suggests. Some teens ended up in the emergency room from choking.
Kids who did the Salt and Ice Challenge rubbed salt and ice onto their skin. This created third-degree burns.
The famous Tide Pod Challenge had kids eating laundry detergent. This led to poisoning and a few deaths.
These can occur at home or at school, but often the trend circulates in talk around the school and on social media. In school, kids may feel pressured to participate, especially when the cameras come out.
Watch for these trends and forbid them. Make your child aware of the dangers. Even challenges that seem silly come with dire consequences.
Staying vigilant yourself can help you navigate your child’s safety. However, teaching your child to stay aware may keep them safe when you cannot.
Teach them to pay attention to their surroundings- who are they with and where are they. Also, go over school safety facts at the beginning of each year.
Teach them to assess a situation for safety and to take a few seconds to find an escape route just in case.
You do not want to instill paranoia. But, you do want them to prepare themselves for situations.
13. Report issues
If you suspect anything off at your child’s school, report it. Whether it involves a student or a teacher, speak up.
Confront teachers you feel do not treat your child right. Go to their superiors if you strongly suspect abuse.
Contact other parents when you hear their child does something dangerous at school. Contact the school with serious matters.
Whistleblowers often get a bad rap. But, when your child’s safety is at stake, get loud about it.
Our society often shames kids for tattling too. But, teach your child the line and encourage them to speak up to authority too when something serious happens.
Keep your kid safe at school School should feel like a safe place. And know, most of the time, it is.
Though you cannot go to school with your child, you can still help keep them safe in that environment. Use these school safety tips as guidelines to take action.
Student caring is our goal. Read more on how you can effectively care about your student as a parent.