August - School Safety

Introduction
This is generally the time of year we begin to think about our kids returning to school. We should make sure we include some basic safety precautions along with our school planning. Purchasing notebooks, pen, and pencils should be just the beginning of a more comprehensive approach to keeping our kids safe at school and prepared for learning. Safety issues for children will be predicated on several factors including but not limit to, their age, maturity level, neighborhood considerations, distance from school, manner of travel to and from school, and weather conditions to name a few. Be proactive, take a stand and know the issues.
School Children Running on the Sidewalk
Protecting Our Children
We have heard the saying that It takes a village to raise a child. We hope that there is some truth in that statement. We all have a role in ensuring our children remain safe. We encourage people to report suspicious activity when they see it. Everyone needs to drive safely, especially around the areas where children may be present. Each one of us needs to take a stand against bullying at school, cyber bullying, teen dating violence, illicit drug use, and weapons at school. Parents and caregivers must take an active role in their children's educational environment, and the environment at home. Communication is a vital tool, and this might mean more listening than lecturing. Look for opportunities to provide life lessons. Learn from other events, and help kids work though problem solving opportunities which help teach conflict resolution and compromise.

School Violence Prevention Strategies
If you would like to learn more about keeping our children safe at school, and helping prevent school violence, take a moment to view our Crime Prevention Bulletin titled School Violence Prevention Strategies (PDF). This bulletin contains ideas for all the major stakeholders involved in stopping violence in our schools. There are specific strategies from the National Crime Prevention Council for Student, Parents, Teachers, and School Administrators. Check out the National Crime Prevention Council website to learn more about how you can help make our schools a safer place.

Everyone has a role in keeping our schools safe. Here are some suggestions or ideas to get people talking about these issues. We encourage you to become informed about the issues and be proactive.

Students
  • Do not allow bullying. Report bullying behavior to authorities at school, and to your parents.
  • Report crimes to school authorities or police. This includes reporting threats made by fellow students who indicate they want to harm others.
  • Be a role model and welcome new students. Help them adjust to their new environment. Mentor younger student and volunteer as a peer or student counselor.
  • Never bring a weapon to school. Never carry or hide a weapon for someone else. Always report someone who is threatening the use of, or possessing a weapon to school staff.
  • Learn how to effectively manage conflict or disputes without resulting to violence.
Parents
  • Take an active role in your child's education. Communication is vitally important to understand what issues your child is facing at school. Get to know your child's teachers. Be a role model for your child as you are their biggest influence. The way you handle conflict, relationships, communication, and behavior can lead to learned behavior in children.
  • Tell your children that you support school policies and how school policies are designed to protect children and help create a positive learning environment.
  • Get to know your children's friends. If you allow your kids to visit their friend's house, find out where they live, something about the adults there, and if there will be adult supervision.
  • Keep weapons in your home in a secure place where children are denied access. Store weapons and ammunition separately. Make sure they can never bring a weapon to school.
School Officials
  • Make sure school policies are up to date, communicated effectively, and impartially enforced.
  • Communicate a "zero tolerance" policy for unsafe behaviors. To help, create an anonymous way to report improper behavior so students are not afraid of retaliation.
  • Help make parental involvement easy. Develop ways for parents to volunteer or serve on committees. Communicate effectively about upcoming events and student progress.
  • Take a proactive stand against school bullying.
  • Work with local authorizes whenever possible. Law Enforcement, Juvenile Courts and Juvenile Probation, the Division of Family and Children, should all work together for the benefit of our local children. We are fortunate to have a good working relationship here locally, and we certainly want to keep that going.
Please commit to the safety of our children. If you have any additional questions or would like any additional information about this topic, please contact the Lafayette Police Department at 765-807-1200.