COLUMBUS, Ohio--()--The following is an opinion editorial provided by Rick Rieser MS JD, SafeSchoolResources.com:
Every parent’s wish is that they could stand at the door of their child’s school to ensure that the students are safe. Where there is effective school planning, there is safety. To be successful, every school needs the eyes, ears and perspective of its parents in their safety planning.
Become familiar with your school’s safety plan and how it was created. Every school is required by law to have a plan that has properly assessed all aspects of its physical and social environment. Planning should also include specific risk prevention measures as well as the response in case of a crisis. A well written plan will communicate to students, parents and teachers their important role in protecting their school.
Become knowledgeable as to whether your school district is funding all of the elements contained in the plan. Successfully implemented safe school plans become “active” when their details are funded. This includes funding to prevent the early warning signs of mental illness from becoming an imminent threat. Be wary of plans that only generally refer to “character education or conflict resolution” as their primary intervention. This is a red flag that the district might not be funding effective mental health strategies that will produce results.
Become well versed as to whether your school plan is making progress. Were the locks installed, fences erected and are students receiving interventions to improve their overall social health? Some plan progress measures require closer scrutiny. For instance, it might seem comforting that a school is reporting zero instances of bullying. However, it could also be a sign that there is poor communication between students and school officials about any harmful school threat.
Become involved in current efforts to revise or modify your school’s safety plan. School plans that include the involvement of students, parents and teachers will be most effective. Risks such as neighborhood threats, harmful student behaviors and safety measure failures are managed most effectively when they become known immediately.
Get involved with your school’s safe planning efforts. Parent and community protection begins at the front door of a safe school plan.
Rick Rieser MS JD is a nationally recognized mental health professional, author, attorney and father. He is successfully helping Ohio K-12 schools stay safe by bridging the gap between student mental health needs and effective in-school programs. Live Webcasts: Learn how to keep your school safe at http://SafeSchoolResources.com Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.