How Can I Help Make My Children’s School Safer?

When crime, drugs and violence spill over from the streets into the schools, providing a safe learning environment
becomes increasingly difficult. More students carry weapons. Gunfights replace fistfights.

Many students must travel through drug dealer or gang turf. Violence becomes an acceptable way to settle conflicts. When this happens, children cannot learn and teachers cannot teach.

Creating a safe place where children can learn and grow depends on a partnership among students, parents, teachers, as well as other community institutions.

To help prevent school violence:

  • Find out how crime threatens schools in your community.
  • Take action to protect children.
  • Promote nonviolent ways to manage conflict.
  • How do these ideas translate into action?

Here are some practical suggestions for young people, parents, school staff & others in the community.

Students

  • Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons.
  • Report crimes or suspicious activities to the police, school authorities, or parents
  •  Take safe routes to and from school and know good places to seek help.
  • Don’t use alcohol or other drugs and stay away from places and people associated with them.
  • Get involved in your school’s antiviolence activities—have poster contests against violence, hold anti-drug rallies,
  • volunteer to counsel peers. If there are no programs, help start one.

Parents

Sharpen your parenting skills. Work with your children to emphasize and build their positive strengths.

  • Teach your children how to reduce their risk of being victims of crime.
  • Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and whom they are with—at all times!
  • Help your children learn nonviolent ways to handle frustration, anger & conflict.
  • Become involved in your child’s school activities—PTA, field trips, and helping out in class or lunchroom.
  • Work with other parents in your neighborhood to start a McGruff House or other block parent program. A McGruff House is a reliable source of help for children in emergency or frightening situations. Volunteers must meet specific standards, including a law enforcement record check. Programs are established locally, as a partnership among law enforcement, schools, and community organizations. For information, call 801-486-8768.

School Staff

Evaluate your school’s safety objectively and set targets for improvement:

  • Develop consistent disciplinary policies, good security procedures, and a response plan for emergencies. Train school personnel in conflict resolution, problem solving, crisis intervention, cultural sensitivity, classroom management and counseling skills.
  • Work with students, parents, law enforcement, state governments, and community-based groups to develop wider-scope crime-prevention efforts, such as Drug-Free and Gun-Free School Zones.

Community partners

Law enforcement can report on the type of crimes in the surrounding community and suggest ways to make schools safer.

  • Law enforcement officers in many areas participate in school activities and talk with students about crime prevention, drug abuse and other problems.
  • Community-based groups, church organizations, and other service groups can provide counseling, extended learning
  • programs, before- and after-school activities, school watches, and other community crime-prevention  programs.
  • State and local governments can develop model school safety plans, and provide funding for schools to implement the programs.
  • Local businesses can provide apprenticeship programs, participate in adopt-a-school programs, or serve as mentors to area students.
  • Colleges and universities can offer conflict-management courses to teachers or assist school officials in developing
  • violence-prevention curricula.

Source:  National Crime Prevention Council