How Safe Is Your Child's School?

When students can sit down and talk, they can solve their differences peacefully rather than through violence.

Do parents care about safety? Make sure the topic is on the agenda of your PTA. Many schools invite local law enforcement officials in to talk about safety.

Do the children learn about safety? These law enforcement officials should talk with the children, too. Besides safety in school, these experts can tell children how to stay safe on the streets.

Does your school have a way to spot and deal with troubled students? In the wake of Columbine, many schools have become super-sensitive to these warning signs.

Is there sufficient, qualified staff to counsel troubled students? It's not enough to spot the students; the kids need to receive the proper attention before they resort to violence.

Do teachers react when they spot cliques and bullies tormenting other students? As we have learned from past incidents, many victims retaliate. Teaching children to be inclusive rather than exclusive will create a caring environment where cliques and bullies have no place.

Safety in schools should be an ongoing concern, not just a knee-jerk reaction to the latest headline. Make sure your child's school follows through every day of the year.

Charlene C. Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese are the coauthors of the new Parenting 911: How Parents Can Safeguard and Rescue 10-to-15-Year-Olds.

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