Before sending your kids back to school, did you share any School Safety and Security Tips? Did you get the blank stare or the “I know” canned response? Did you brush up on your safety and security knowledge?
Keeping our kids safe and secure is not an easy task, but with a little work and persistence, parents can help create safe and secure school environments where kids can excel.
Back to School Safety and Security Tips
School Zone Safety
Whether you have kids or not, you need to be on the lookout for school zones. When you enter a school zone, obey posted school speed limits and be extra attuned to pedestrians. Be sure to stop for buses that are loading or unloading children and never pass other vehicles or change lanes while driving in a school zone.
Riding a bike to school can deliver a huge boost in self-confidence and an extra jolt of exercise into your child’s daily routine. Once you trust that your child will reliably obey the rules of the road, you’ll need to scout the best possible route from your home to school. A safe bicycle route is one that avoids busy intersections and uncontrolled crossings. Finally, you’ll also want to make sure that your child’s helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and that the helmet fits properly. If you’re not sure, swing by your local bicycle shop for a custom helmet fitting.
With all the recent — and justified — attention being paid to school safety in relation to active shooter events (LARGO is an approved school safety and assessment provider), it’s easy to overlook the perils of the playground. Ask your child’s teacher about recess supervision, inspect your school’s playground equipment for potential hazards, and make sure that the areas surrounding the playground equipment are surrounded by a thick layer of shock-absorbing material. You’ll also want to make sure that your child knows what to do in the event of an injury.
Safety in Numbers
Make sure that your child knows your cell number, address, and the name and number of a trusted adult. To be extra safe, write your name and contact information inside your child’s backpack and outerwear. You’ll also want to make sure that your child knows when and how to call 911.
Social Media Safety
Research by the Educator’s School Safety Network found that in the 2017-18 school year, more than 50% of school-based threats of violence were made, distributed, and shared via social media. Talk to you kids about social media, monitor their social media usage, and encourage them to think before they post.
See Something, Say Something
No one likes a tattle-tale, but there’s a big difference between reporting and telling. Encourage your kids to disclose information relating to their safety and the safety of others. Talk to your child about what to do when they see or hear about inappropriate social media posts, dangerous playground behaviors, or threatening conversations.
Advocate for School Safety
Parents have powerful voices and can drive safety improvements on school campuses. Some good questions to ask your school administrators include:
- Has the school conducted an emergency risk assessment?
- Are school staff members trained in crisis response? This training should include medical emergencies, severe weather, fire, and active shooter response.
- Do you have a school emergency action plan?
- Has the campus had a physical security assessment? (For schools in Pennsylvania, Act 44 requires physical assessment. Learn more about the Top 5 PA Act 44 Assessment Items.)
- If age-appropriate, are students first aid certified?
- Is your school equipped with visible AEDs and Stop the Bleed kits?
- What’s the school’s parent reunification plan?
Stay safe and have a great school year!
LARGO Consulting Services, LLC is committed to providing safe and secure environments where you live, work, study, and play. For more information about LARGO Secure Schools, please contact LARGO Consulting Services, LLC online or call 833-LARGOCS. We also invite you to connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.