I grew up believing that schools are inherently safe. Unfortunately, our neighbour to the south is proof positive that schools can be as dangerous. Thankfully, while we don’t generally see issues involving gun violence, we do have instances of bullying, assault, sexual abuse and playground accidents resulting in serious physical injuries.
With our kids returning to school this week, it is time to revisit school safety. Here are 5 simple tips to promote safety as they head back to class.
- Foster a relationship with your kids wherein they can talk to you about anything! Make sure your kids feel comfortable to have an open dialogue with you about any topic, no matter their age. They need to know that they can come to you with whatever is going on and it won’t be a harsh or judgmental reaction.
- Teach them right and wrong. This may seem like an obvious point, but if a child knows what is appropriate, it will be easier for them to spot what is wrong, especially if those around them are trying to blur the line.
- Talk about bullies. Do your kids know how to spot a bully? Do they know how to respond? Be sure you are talking to your kids at age-appropriate levels about what to watch for and what to do. Also, (and it should go with saying) make sure your kid isn’t the instigator/bully. Teach kindness and how to stand up for what is right, even in tough situations.
- Implement rules for social media. Be sure you know who your kids are talking to and who is talking to them. Consider the amount of access they have to the internet and social media both at school and at home. Cyberbullying is real and dangerous. Do you have rules about smartphones, tablets and/or computer use? If not, it may be time to consider setting some ground rules.
- Get involved. Volunteer at their school and show up at random times. I’m not suggesting you disrupt the flow or annoy the administration, but consider stopping in to have lunch with your child (this may be better received by the child if they are in primary grades). Maybe even also pick them up every now and then. Volunteer for field trips and bake sales. Get to know those at the school (administration and teachers etc) and let them get to know you.
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By: Melissa Scott