Redwood_Cit... asks:

What can I do as a parent to help prevent school violence?  And how should I talk to my kids about it?

I see that there was yet another horrific school shooting today

Although this one was in Germany, it still brings to mind all the many tragedies that have occured here in the US as well.

It makes it hard to send my two little boys off to school in the morning!  I feel a bit helpless really and am wondering what I as a parent can do to help prevent something like this from happening at our school.  

I would love to hear from any of you about what your schools do to keep kids safe without making them fearful about potential dangers or like they go to school in a prison.

Also, I'll do my best to keep this news from my kids, but if they do hear about it, how do you explain a mass murder at school to a six year old?  So sad.

In Topics: School safety (not bullying), Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago


Answers (1)

dgraab , Parent writes:
As a parent of a first grader, I share your concerns about school violence, and regularly talk with our school's principal, teachers and other parents about this topic  -- encouraging ongoing vigilance and safety features on campus to protect our children.

I find some comfort in the fact that our school has strict rules about who is allowed on campus (that are followed rigorously), as well as solid emergency plans or protocols in place (they also conduct periodic practice drills and refine the protocols as necessary). Our school also maintains a great relationship with the local police and fire departments, who have responded very quickly and effectively on a few rare occasions they've been needed to address violence on our campus. Teachers say our school's Sports4Kids program (which is sponsored by the PTA) has also helped to reduce violence between students -- as well as improve the academic focus in class -- by giving kids another outlet for their energy while also teaching teamwork and conflict resolution. Additionally, the PTA has sponsored anti-violence assemblies, including one last year about bullying, and some teachers have instituted rules (and consequences) in their classrooms to prevent or reduce the use of violent, oppressive or demeaning language (for instance, the words "stupid" and "shut up" are banned in my daughter's classroom, and she'll now inform people we know, whether on or off campus, that these words are not allowed and shouldn't be used!). Conversely, the school also rewards students who demonstrate non-violent, good behavior through its Student of the Month program, which includes an announcement over the school loudspeaker to all classes, a 'well done' handshake from the principal, their photo displayed in the office, a certificate, and an academic gift (such as a neat pencil or eraser). Lastly, the district has instituted a school uniform policy, as a way to eliminate gang-related attire on its campuses and even the playing field when it comes to dressing for school.  

I hope as a society and individuals we find better ways to address problems before they escalate into violence, and am glad our daughter's school is taking this issue very seriously and approaching it from many different angles. My personal experiences and opinions aside...

Below is a link to some content on you may find useful in coping with this concern. It's entitled, "School Violence in the News: What Parents Need to Know," and includes links to an assortment of articles to support parents as they help their children cope with the frightening news of school violence.

All the best to you and your family as you try to understand or explain such a heartwrenching matter as this one, and as you explore the best ways to keep your children as safe as possible at school.

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