School Safety

Providing a safe environment for children at school requires a number of school safety programs. This article discusses school bullies and the threat they pose to school safety, tips on reducing bullying in schools, and increasing safety at school.

We like to think of school as a safe place that our kids can attend to get the basic education required by our society. However, in many instances, school is not that safe place. Bullying is a big part of the experiences that many children and teenagers experience while at school. It is important to address this issue, though, since bullying is something that can impact someone for a lifetime. It is important to address this very important aspect of school safety.

What is bullying?

Bullying goes beyond teasing. Indeed, many children and teenagers are familiar with teasing from friends and family. For the most part, it is a fun way to interact. Bullying, though, is a different proposition. Teasing can turn into bullying if it becomes constant and hurtful. Bullying is done with the intent to harm a person, or humiliate him or her in some way. While we often think of bullying as something that is done physically, it is important to recognize that bullies use verbal, emotional and psychological means as well. There are many types of bullying.

Bullying impacts school safety, especially when it is the physical kind. It makes attending school a painful chore for many kids and teenagers, and it can cause problems. It takes away the safety of the learning environment and replaces it with feelings of fear and insecurity. This impacts the ability to learn. Even if the bullying is not physical, it can reduce a student’s ability to process information and function well in a learning environment. Children and teens can’t learn well if they do not feel safe at school. Emphasis on school safety can create a better environment that is conducive to learning.

Reducing bullying in schools

One of the goals of school safety should be to reduce the amount of bullying that goes on. It is important for schools to adopt policies that discourage bullying, and then enforce these policies. Some of the things that schools can do (parents can spearhead efforts when needed) to increase school safety include:

  • Develop an anti-bullying policy that clearly defines school bullying, and the school’s stand against it, as well as setting forth consequences for bullying.
  • Publicize the anti-bullying policy, letting the kids know the policy, as well as providing information for parents.
  • Train teachers and support staff to help encourage school safety, and to be on the lookout for bullying behavior. Also, train adults in supervisory positions on how they can offer support to students who are experiencing fear.
  • Enforce anti-bullying policies.
  • Consider activities in the classroom that can help students learn about bullying, as well as general school safety guidelines and expectations.
  • Work with parents to enhance school safety and cut down on bullying.

In many cases, it helps students to know that bullying will not be tolerated. This stance can discourage would-be bullies from behaving in a way that endangers school safety. It can be difficult to detect emotional, verbal and psychological bullying, though, so it may be necessary for teachers and others to receive special training on the subject.

Helping kids increase their safety at school

You can help your child reduce the chances of being bullied by providing him or her with the right tools. Many of these techniques also work with other areas of school safety, such as avoiding strangers intent on doing harm. Here are some things you can tell your child to do:

  • Use the buddy system. Try to avoid being alone. Go places with friends, so that the bully is not as tempted to pick on you. Bullies are less likely to harass you when you have a visible support system.
  • Try to avoid the bully. Pay attention to where the bully is, and then try to avoid him or her.
  • Ignore the bully. One way kids can stop bullying is to ignore the bully. This is more effective with non-physical kinds of bullying, though. In some cases, as with physical bullying, it can be hard to ignore. But your kids should be taught to walk away when possible.
  • Tell an adult. Children and teenagers should let an adult know about bullying. In many cases, teachers and administrators can’t stop a school safety issue if they don’t know about it.

You need to be supportive, and take your child seriously if he or she reports a threat at school. Then you need to take the appropriate steps to help increase school safety so that your child has a secure place to learn.

Related Article: School Violence Statistics >>