common discomforts

labor & delivery

coming soon

family activities

  fun ideas

AddFreeStats.com Free Web Stats in real-time !




How Safe Is Your Child's School?
by The Roller-Coaster Moms

As your child heads back to school, the recent violence that has exploded in classrooms, cafeterias and gymnasiums across the nation probably has you concerned. Now is the time to ask officials at your child's school, "Will my child be safe?"

In our new book, Parenting 911, we give parents a checklist of safety items that can serve as a starting point for your evaluation. Here are some things to consider:

How tight is security? There should be a minimal number of entrances and exits. Schools should require visitors to sign in, and control access to parking lots, gyms and other buildings. Some schools actually lock their buildings during lunch to prevent strangers from wandering in.

Does the school record and track crime? Rather than burying these statistics, compiling them helps school officials understand what crimes are being committed when and by whom. Knowing that, the school can devise strategies to combat crime.

Is there an emergency communications center? This network should link classrooms and schoolyard supervisors with the front office or security staff, as well as with local law enforcement agencies. Detention classrooms should have emergency buzzers.

Have all posters been removed from windows? There should be an unobstructed view into each classroom and hallway.

Do students and teachers have identification cards? Those without cards should receive visitor badges.

Is a dress code enforced? Any gang-related clothing should be prohibited.

Is there a peer mediation program? When students can sit down and talk, they can solve their differences peacefully rather than through violence.

Do parents care about safety? Make sure the topic is on the agenda of your PTA. Many schools invite local law enforcement officials in to talk about safety.

Do the children learn about safety? These law enforcement officials should talk with the children, too. Besides safety in school, these experts can tell children how to stay safe on the streets.

Does your school have a way to spot and deal with troubled students? In the wake of Columbine, many schools have become super-sensitive to these warning signs.

Is there sufficient, qualified staff to counsel troubled students? It's not enough to spot the students; the kids need to receive the proper attention before they resort to violence.

Do teachers react when they spot cliques and bullies tormenting other students? As we have learned from past incidents, many victims retaliate. Teaching children to be inclusive rather than exclusive will create a caring environment where cliques and bullies have no place.

Safety in schools should be an ongoing concern, not just a knee-jerk reaction to the latest headline. Make sure your child's school follows through every day of the year.