Summer is over and kids are headed back to school. Parents may be sighing with relief, but the new school year also brings a new set of worries. Parents worry when their kids are away, it’s just what they do. And with everything happening in schools these days, why wouldn’t they?
While kids are in their care, it’s the job of teachers and administrators to keep kids safe during the school day and to reassure parents that their kids are safe. But, with a new incident flashing across our screens every day, how can administrators make their students and parents feel safe and secure in an often unstable environment?
Just the Facts, Ma’am
Yes, there are a lot of schools shootings. But, there are also a lot of schools. If you look at the numbers, the odds of a violent incident occurring at your school are typically in your favor. Make sure parents know that.
Taking a strict average over the last thirteen years, the US experiences 2.46 school shootings per year. It’s more than we would like, yes. But it’s by no means a lot. Assure parents that the numbers are low. If you’re in a safe neighborhood, provide statistics. The media is powerful, but it’s hard to argue with numbers.
Even though the odds of an incident are low, you should still be prepared. And parents should know you are prepared. Practice regular drills and keep parents updated on the frequency and success of those drills.
Start the year off with a welcoming, social and comforting presence. Be there as students come back for the year, greet them at the door, chat with parents, let them know you are there to answer any questions or address any concerns.
Introduce yourself to those coming to your school for the first time. By making yourself a familiar presence, both students and parents will feel they can come to you, will trust you, and will feel better about leaving their children with you.
Get the Community/Parents Involved
You most likely already have violence prevention programs in place, invite parents to participate in them, even help organize them. Parents want to feel heard, but they also want to hear from you. Invite discussion in open forums such as meetings or online discussions, somewhere you can respond in a timely manner. Make it simple and easy to address concerns directly.
Also, reach out to the community. Ask local emergency responders to give talks or seminars on how to keep kids safe. Hearing from an expert in the field will reassure parents about the measurements and precautions that are in place.
When you put new measures in place, tell parents about it. If you’re using systems like Nightlock’s Door Barricade, tell parents about it. Tell them how simple it is to use and how effective it is in an emergency. Knowing what teachers will need to do in an emergency and knowing they will be able to do it quickly and without complications will reassure them that if there is an emergency, it will be handled as quickly and easily as possible.
Sending kids back to school doesn’t have to be a scary prospect. If parents have confidence in those caring for their children, the new school year will be easier and more enjoyable for everyone.