Schools are meant to be a safe place for children. They are an essential part of their lives and are meant to raise them to be the best version they can be. Unfortunately, there are still many issues that disrupt school security and bring parents new worries.
Starting a new school year, we all plan to buy necessary equipment, books, uniform, get a haircut, and stuff kids with vitamins to give them enough energy for studying. But what about security? Why isn’t it on our lists as well? In an ideal world, parents and educators work together to ensure top safety for kids in schools and outside of them. In our world, it remains neglected and our negligence harms the lives of our precious children.
Ensuring school safety means creating a friendly environment for them to learn and practice their skills. But what happens when a student doesn’t feel safe? The wish to attend classes disappears, a child feels unwelcome and discouraged, new fears are rooted in the subconscious leading to anxiety, depression, etc. We must understand that the safety schools have can help children both physically and mentally.
While bullying has always been a problem of schools, new issues are rising these days. The U.S.A. is the most affected by school shootings, for example. In some states, it’s dangerous to even come to school, not to mention competing with your peers or quarreling with somebody.
Since 2013, 35 children and 6 adults have died in school shootings around the country, as well as 92 children and 12 adults have been injured. These statistics are offered by the EveryTown registers. The New York Times, however, mentions 138 deaths since 2014. Anyway, the numbers are too big and we should consider school safe.
We should get responsible and ask questions about school safety that we’ve never even thought about.
Are Schools Really That Unsafe?
The increasing worries about children safety touch not only playgrounds and streets but also schools. Bullying, fighting, and shootings have become a constant reminder that child safety requires our attention. While most schools are focused on the recent sick “trend” of shootings, other aspects of safety remain neglected.
First of all, school authorities have to update their understanding of security and implement new policies and strategies. The world we are living in today is quite different from the one of decades ago when most policies have been written. These changes have to be done for we cannot abandon schools and keep our kids safely tucked at home.
Why is school important? Disregarding the most obvious answer of studying, we could tell that socializing is the most important aspect of attending the establishment. Just books and study materials are not enough for kids to develop. They need to get life experience and where can we find such a variety of situations other than at school? There, kids improve their personality and learn how to behave in society. The latest trends of creative and social learning prove the importance of the institution to the well-rounded development of students.
The increasing interest in these variations of pedagogy is caused by the need for critical thinkers and numerous studies claiming positive results of encouraging differentness. This type of studying includes problem-solving challenges that develop kids’ creativity and critical thinking. Social learning, in its turn, promotes the theory that studying is largely influenced by the social context.
While standardized learning has proved to be effective for the decades of our ancestors, the modern age demands divergent thinking, as well as being open and accepting.
By promoting new approaches to pedagogy, we can actually make schools safer for our kids. The idea of personal approach and diversity is a great tool to decrease the amount of bullying and violence at schools.
There are a few school safety issues that demand our attention. Let’s take a closer look.
The first issue we’ll talk about has been around for years but never as strong and destructive as now—bullying. The victims are 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide. In fact, suicide is the second-ranking cause of death for teens and young adults. Moreover, according to the Megan Meier Foundation, the number of suicide attempts has doubled since 2008. Such whopping numbers are mostly caused by the addition of fresh cyberbullying that is, at times, even more aggressive.
No school would admit neglecting bullying. Yet, that’s exactly what some of them do. When the statistics say that every third student admits suffering from this kind of violence, we cannot even imagine that there’s an establishment not affected by this “disease.”
Another issue is connected to schools but doesn’t happen within its walls. The walk to school and back home is a safety hazard that cannot be overrated. Once you decide that your kids are old enough to go home by themselves, you call upon another danger. Pedestrian injuries are only a part of troubles a child can get on his or her way to school.
Then, comes a massive issue of high school shootings. The terrifying stories of recent years are only growing in numbers. Gun sales are something that should be severely controlled, but kids still manage to get them. The lack of strict laws in some states leads to catastrophic results with young unsuspecting victims. (I know that if my children were to go to a school where something similar is possible, I’d keep them on homeschooling as long as I could).
School violence is also at its peak. When bullying transitions into something more physical, youth is always hurt. Seeing kids come home with injuries is an unpleasant experience that many parents let go unnoticed thinking that it’s a one-time thing. Don’t hope for it, for schools should know that they’ve failed to keep children safe.
There are so many types of violence at schools that it’s hard to regulate all aspects, especially when the walk from school may turn out to be disastrous. Unfortunately, sexual violence is something young girls experience as well.
Health hazards face children at any corner. Physical education classes are often too demanding for kids without the consideration of their strengths and weaknesses. The hallways and playgrounds are also filled with danger.
Another type of safety we have to worry about in modern schools is the digital one. With more and more technologies used in classes, children are exposed to a yet new kind of hazards. In addition to the abovementioned cyberbullying, kids face dangers or explicit content, disturbing images, and others. Today, online safety is just as important as physical. However, considering that this issue is new, schools still have no universal policy as on how to provide this kind of security.
Unfortunately, due to the spread of school shooters around the country, other safety issues are viewed as minor and thought not to be destructive. That’s why such problems as bullying and digital safety are often neglected or passed on to teachers alone to control. However, the reality tells us that there are not enough teachers to fully control the situation, especially those who know what to do in such situations. The lack of respect for school authorities among kids and teens also makes the task harder when even teachers can get assaulted at any time.
Zero tolerance and violence prevention policies have to be implemented to take the problem under control before it ruins a school as an institution. Home studies would sound alluring but we should not forget about the importance of the social aspect of education.
Considering the variety of school hazards, it’s safe to say that schools are no longer secure. Yet, were they ever? It may have been expressed in milder forms and be sparse, but dangers have always been a part of our life. It seems that the authorities cannot decide on how to face the issue with an effective solution. Whether it is complete negligence or strict rules, nothing has been 100% effective so far. The system has to be changed and new rules that would focus on all kinds of safety implemented.
Parents are an important link to schools. Each parent should responsibly check the security of a school and bring to attention any problem they find within. In addition, teaching a child on how to look out for themselves is a must. A responsible kid who knows what is safe and what is not can avoid half of the problems a carefree one wouldn’t even notice.
What are your safety measures when it comes to your child? Do you take everything in the hands of your kid and yourself or do you count on schools to keep them safe? Speaking of the establishment, do you think the school you’ve attended or the one you’ve sent your child to can be considered safe in general? Tell us your thoughts on the importance of school safety and whether social learning is worth the trouble of constantly worrying about your children.