When parents send kids off to school, they believe their child will arrive home that afternoon safe and sound, ready to do homework and have a snack before watching a little TV. No parents anticipate any kind of threat to their child, but unfortunately, today it is an issue for everyone who is entrusted with the welfare of a child.
First parents should be comforted that most schools have disaster and emergency plans in place that will lead to better safety. Schools practice tornado and fire drills several times a year. In addition there are procedures in place that will be set in motion if there is an emergency or threat in the school. Most schools have doors that are locked so that anyone entering the building must enter through doors that are highly visible from the office. Even though some of these procedures can’t completely be practiced until the true event occurs, schools have made serious efforts to plan for the safety of the children and have given this a high priority.
Another safety measure many schools have set in motion is a crossing guard system near the school. This protects students as they cross the busy streets near the school to insure they are able to walk home in greater safety.
If a parent is concerned about their child being victimized while walking to or from school, it is important to talk with the child. Set up rules that the parents think are important, such as not getting into a car with anyone, running to a house if someone approaches them, yelling for help, or kicking/hitting a pursuer. It is also best that the child not walk home from school alone. Talk to neighborhood parents to see if your child can walk home with their children or plan for an adult to pick the child up.
Most schools today require school employees to be certified in first aid, CPR and defibrillator operation. Defibrillators can be found in most school buildings and teachers are increasingly being trained in how to deal if a health crisis arises.
As a parent, in order to keep your child safe, check up on the school and ask these questions of the administration. They should know the answers very quickly off the top of their heads, if not be suspicious that the school is not prepared on that issue.
Ask the following questions:
1) Does the school have an emergency procedure plan in place?
2) Does the school have staff that is trained in CPR, AED, and first aid?
3) Does every room have procedures posted on how to exit a building in an emergency?
4) Does the school have defibrillators in the school?
5) Does the school have play ground supervision before and after school as well as crossing guards?
As a parent you can’t prepare for every event that may happen to your child, but if you keep the school on its toes so it evaluates its procedures, the safety of your child is in a much better place. If you have an aging school, safety may be a greater risk from having a poor quality facility. Make sure that you are your child’s best advocate and if you find any conditions or lack of preparation on the school’s part, make sure you follow the steps that are needed so the school is clear that this is unacceptable. Look out for your child’s safety. It is essential to the lives other children as well.