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How To Make A Safe School? pg3

Is Your School A Safe School?

 See how Keys’ can help.


Enlist Students in Appropriate Reporting


StudentsThere is much students can do help create safe schools.  Talk to your teachers, parents, and counselor to find out how you can get involved and do your part to make your schools safe.  Here are some ideas that students in other schools have tried:

  • Listen to your friends if they share troubling feelings or thoughts.  Encourage them to get help from a trusted adult – such as a school psychologist, counselor, social worker, leader from the faith community, or other profession.  If you are very concerned, seek help for them immediately.  Share your concerns with your parents.

  • Create, join, or support student organizations that combat violence, such as “Students And Families Empowered” (S.A.F.E.), “Students Against Destructive Decisions“, and “Young Heroes Programs“or let us help you develop one in your area.

  • Work with local businesses and community groups to organize youth-oriented activities that help young people think of way to prevent school and community violence (See L.O.V.E. Campaign).  Share your ideas for how these community groups and businesses can support your efforts.

  • Organize and assembly and invite your school psychologist, school social worker, a Keys To Safer School Violence Expert and counselor – in addition to student panelists – to share ideas about how to deal with violence, intimidation and bullying.

  • Get involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating your school’s violence prevention and response plan (see “What is a Safe School” and “Crisis Action/Response Plan Training“).

  • Participate in violence prevention programs such as peer mediation and conflict resolution.  Employ your new skills in other settings, such as the home, neighborhood, and community.

  • Work with your teachers and administrators to create a safe process for reporting threats, intimidation, weapon possession, drug selling, gang activity, graffiti, and vandalism.  Use the process.  Develop Kids are the Keys!

  • Ask for permission to invite a law enforcement officer to your school to conduct a safety audit and share safety tips, such as traveling in groups and avoiding areas known to be unsafe.  Share your ideas with the officer.

  • Help to develop and participate in all activities that promote student understanding of differences and to respect the rights of all

  • Volunteer to be a mentor for younger students and/or provide tutoring to your peers.

  • Know your schools code of conduct and model responsive behavior.  Avoid being part of a crowd when fights break out.  Refrain from teasing, bullying and intimidating peers.

  • Be a role model – take personal responsibility by reacting to anger without physically or verbally harming others.

  • Seek help from your parents or a trusted adult – such as a school psychologist, social worker, counselor, teacher – if you are experiencing intense feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, or depression.


Team up with Parents


Help stop school violence with this starter list of ideas. Some require only individual action; some require concerted effort. Some address immediate issues; others address the problems that cause violence. Consider this list a launching pad — there’s lots more that can be done. Check with Keys To Safer for more ideas and help in carrying them out.

  • Recognize that keeping firearms in your home may put you at legal risk as well as expose you and your family to physical risk. In many states, parents can be held liable for their children’s actions, including inappropriate use of firearms. If you do choose to keep firearms at home, ensure that they are securely locked, that ammunition is locked and stored separately, and that children know weapons are never to be touched without your express permission and supervision.

  • Take an active role in your children’s schools. Talk regularly with teachers and staff. Volunteer in the classroom or library, or in after-school activities. Work with parent- teacher-student organizations.

  • Act as role models. Settle your own conflicts peaceably and manage anger without violence.

  • Listen to and talk with your children regularly. Find out what they’re thinking on all kinds of topics. Create an opportunity for two-way conversation, which may mean forgoing judgments or pronouncements. This kind of communication should be a daily habit, not a reaction to crisis.

  • Set clear limits on behaviors in advance (see free handouts). Discuss punishments and rewards in advance, too. Disciplining with framework and consistency helps teach self- discipline, a skill your children can use for the rest of their lives (see Books).

  • Communicate clearly on the violence issue. Explain that you don’t accept and won’t tolerate violent behavior. Discuss what violence is and is not. Answer questions thoughtfully. Listen to children’s ideas and concerns. They may bring up small problems that can easily be solved now, problems that could become worse if allowed to fester.

  • Help your children learn how to examine and find solutions to problems (see Conflict Resolution Training and flip-chart). Kids who know how to approach a problem and resolve it effectively are less likely to be angry, frustrated, or violent. Take advantage of “teachable moments” to help your child understand and apply these and other skills.

  • Discourage name-calling, bullying and teasing. These behaviors often escalate into fistfights (or worse). Whether the teaser is violent or not, the victim may see violence as the only way to stop it.

  • Insist on knowing your children’s friends, whereabouts, and activities. It’s your right. Make your home an inviting and pleasant place for your children and their friends; it’s easier to know what they’re up to when they’re around. Know how to spot signs of troubling behavior in kids — yours and others (See Early Warning Signs Training and free Knowledge Base Center).

  • Work with other parents to develop standards for school-related events, acceptable out-of-school activities and places, and required adult supervision. Support each other in enforcing these standards.

  • Make it clear that you support school policies and rules that help create and sustain a safe place for all students to learn. If your child feels a rule is wrong, discuss his or her reasons and what rule might work better.

  • Join up with other parents, through school and neighborhood associations, religious organizations, civic groups, and youth activity groups. Talk with each other about violence problems, concerns about youth in the community, sources of help to strengthen and sharpen parenting skills, and similar issues (Learn about a Community Violence Prevention Campaign).

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