Recently, we at Safety Mom Enterprises conducted a survey asking parents what safety concerns they had about their school. Some of the findings were quite interesting:
70% of parents reported their kids had been bullied. Interestingly, only 18% said the bullying was physical in nature. That means the majority was cyberbullying and verbal bullying (typical of “mean girl” behavior). As parents we can’t assume that bullying is the same as when we were kids. Cyberbullying has reached epidemic proportions but, while it happens online, it doesn’t mean that the school shouldn’t get involved in putting an end to it. Cyberbullying over the weekend spills into school on Monday. Be sure you inform school officials if your child was involved in a cyberbully incident so that they can monitor the situation during the day.
While 65% of the parents brought the bullying to the schools attention, the bullying continued in over 30% of the cases. This is particularly disturbing since both the parents and the child end up frustrated and confused as to where to turn for additional help. According to the American Justice Department 75% of school shootings have been linked to bullying and harassment. Continue to push the school for a resolution to a bullying incident and, if necessary, get local law enforcement involved. Mobile, AL has a program in place, Bully Blocker, which allows people to directly text the District Attorney’s office and alert them to a bullying issue.
A whopping 51% felt only somewhat confident that schools did a good job handling bullying and violence. Schools are working hard to reach out to students by developing programs that deal with bullying directly. Research shows that “zero-tolerance” policies aren’t enough on their own. These policies must be paired with programs that promote a balanced social atmosphere at school. Such programs should focus on the fact that bullying is not a rite of passage and not acceptable at school. Technology solutions such as surveillance cameras help tremendously in cutting down on bullying. Find out from your school their specific plans on addressing bullying and violence and the safety devices they have in place to help.
After being bullied, the thing that worried parents most were a kid bringing a gun to school and a sexual predator getting in. All of that worry can be put to an end with new technology solutions like ADT’s visitor management system. This system scans a visitor’s identity to confirm who they are and also runs their identity through a national sexual offender database. There are also notification systems to instantly notify students, parents, and teachers of emergencies and critical information. These notifications will cover school violence, weather-related, or facility issues.
Less than 30% of respondents said their schools doors are locked at all times and only 35% even needed to show a photo ID upon entering the school. If your child’s school does not keep their doors locked at all time or require a photo ID before entering the school SPEAK UP! There have been way too many incidents that have already occurred. If the doors are unlocked and no one is checking your photo ID that means anyone can enter, including: predators, non custodial parents, disgruntled former employees, unhappy alumni who hold a grudge against a teacher, gang members. Test out your schools safety procedures yourself. If you can find a way of getting into the school bypassing a check-in, then so can anyone else.
Schools need to have a plan and you need to be aware of them.
- In the event of a natural disaster or other crisis, do you know the protocol for picking your child up from the school?
- Where would they transport them if they are required to evacuate the school?
- What is “Plan B” for escaping the school if “Plan A” isn’t viable?
These are questions that every parent must ask and understand.