Making School Safer
Things a Parent can do to improve child behaviour
1. Act as role models. Settle your own conflicts peaceably and manage anger without violence.
2. Set clear limits on behaviors in advance. 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.
3. Help your children learn how to examine and find solutions to problems. Kids who know how to approach a problem and resolve it effectively are less likely be angry, frustrated, or violent. Take advantage of “teachable moments” to help your child understand and apply these and other skills.
4. Discourage name-calling 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.
5. Take an active role in your child’s school. Talk regularly with teachers, staff and other caregivers. Volunteer in the classroom or library or after-school activities. Work with parent-teacher-student organizations. Getting involved will help you better understand the school’s strengths and weakness as well as how you can change occur.
6. Find out what is already being done at your child’s school. Try to learn more about the school’s overall approach to safety and security. Does the school address ways to prevent as well as respond to violence and other crimes? How is safety addressed throughout the school – in the cafeteria, hallways, locker rooms, classrooms, etc.?
7. Get organized. Does your child’s school already have a safety committee? Is it concerned with preventing as well as responding to crimes? If so, join. If your school doesn’t have such a group, ask the principal how you can work together to organize one.
8. Make it clear that you support school policies and rules that help create and sustain a sage place for all students to learn. If your child feels a rule is wrong, discuss his or her reasons and what approach might work better.
9. Listen to and talk with your children regularly. Bullying, first fights, and shoving are the most common school safety and security issues kids face at school; theft is the most common school crime. Ask your child what problems and concerns he or she has. They may bring up small problems that you can help your child solve without involving school officials.
10. Find time for two-way conversations with your children – lots of listening, no lecturing. Try to make this kind of communication a daily habit, not a reaction to crisis. Help your child learn how to identify and solve problems. Kids who know how to approach a problem and resolve it effectively are less likely to be angry, frustrated, or violent.
11. Communicate your standards clearly. Explain that you won’t tolerate violent behaviour. Discuss what violence is and is not. Discourage name-calling and teasing. These behaviours 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. Communicate clearly on the violence issue. 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.
12. Insist on knowing your child’s friends, whereabouts, and activities. It’s your right. Make your home an inviting and pleasant place of your child and his or her friends: it’s easier to know what they’re up to when they’re around. Know how to spot signs of troubling behaviour in kids – yours and others.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.