10 Key Questions on School Safety
Here are a few questions you can think about and potentially share with your PTO/PTA or with school administrators, if you're unsure whether your child's school is "covering" the topic of safety adequately.
When you walk around your school, do you feel that all the adults working there have student safety at the top of their minds?
Do parents have access to information about the number and nature of violent acts (e.g., student fights) or other safety violations that take place at school?
Is there someone who "owns" school safety as a major part of his or her job, who is the "go-to person" when something happens or when a policy question arises?
Are there fully articulated policies and procedures in place regarding school safety?
Are the right resources available, both human (counselors) and physical (first-aid kits), to cope with safety challenges?
Is there enough of an effort towards prevention of safety challenges – Are students taught safety procedures? Are there anti-bullying programs in place? Are troubled students quickly referred to professionals who can help them? Do all teachers and educational support personnel "know the drill?"
Is there enough of an effort towards involving the parents in prevention efforts?
Are the discipline policies fair, well known in the school at in the homes of students, and applied with consistency and firmness?
Is the school as hazard-free as possible, both inside the buildings and on the grounds? Is all sports equipment well maintained? Are the bus drivers well versed in conflict prevention and resolution? Are the buses kept clean and hazard-free?
Is there good coordination between the school and local first responders such as firefighters and police, nearby hospitals, etc., in planning for emergency situations? Are there provisions to maintain clear lines of communication in different emergency scenarios?
Good luck in keeping your schools safe!