Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Note For Parents Regarding Safety In Schools

I want to be sure parents understand, public school teachers work very hard. Most, if not all of them, have your child's best interests at heart. Keep in mind this information is coming from a former kindergarten teacher who now homeschools her children. I do want to make sure parents know something else. In light of budget cuts, your child's classroom and/or school may be at risk. I hate to "go there" but people have been asking me how I would keep my students safe if a tragedy happened where I worked. The truth is that I have participated in many lock down practices and one situation that was "for real". The real situation happened because a man had robbed either a local bank or local store, I cannot remember now which it was, and ran through our campus to hide in the wooded area behind the buildings. Though we were there several hours later than the end bell, we were safe and so were the children. We were fortunate. Here are a few things I want for EVERY parent to insist upon at a child's school. Remember, due to budget cuts a teacher may request these things to be done and they may hear the word "NO". Parents can make a difference by insisting upon safety measures including, but not limited to, the ones I list below.

1. Create a check in process in the front office including a photo ID.
2. Hire a full time officer for EVERY school site even if the PTA or SAC has to fund this.
3. All windows need window shades that are NOT broken or missing on all windows.
4. There should be a key for EVERY teacher's classroom door and perhaps a deadbolt above the children's reach.
5. Doors should be locked after the begin of the school day.
6. A fence/gate that opens and closes needs to be around the campus building. (This is a tough one to get folks.)
7.  You need a way for substitutes to lock their doors without another teacher having to do it. Not having this idea in place will not only put the substitute's class at risk, but also the other teacher's class at risk as she/he runs to lock BOTH doors.
8. Practice for emergencies as a school. Have a plan.
9. Have a safe word that tells if someone is in the room or not. For example, daisies, fish, or shoes.
10.  Always have an accurate list of who is on campus and where he/she is located even when at special area classes.
11. Insist upon small class sizes even in special area classes.

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