Staying Safe at School - Guide for Parents
October 25, 2015
Ensuring children are safe at school: A Parent’s Guide
Unfortunately, as in any walk of life, there are occasions when a school will not always provide a positive environment for its students. With that in mind, here is a guide to your child staying safe at school.
1. Do your research
Parents first need to do their research on child safety. Only by knowing the resources available to them and the correct boundaries can parents reduce their children’s vulnerability to potential abuse, bullying, crime or violence.
2. Don’t leave everything to the school
Most schools operate a personal safety education programme for students from as early as infancy. These programmes educate children on self-protection skills and teach lessons about safe and unsafe situations; inappropriate touch, communication, secrets, bullying, violence, crime and stranger danger.
It’s important that parents don’t leave all of this work to their child’s school. Parents should also engage with the process at home.
3. Teach your children the skills
It’s important that all parents teach their children safety skills that they can apply both in and outside of school.
All children should be taught how to resist potentially abusive situations, and encouraged to talk to you about any problems or concerns they may have.
4. What is safety?
A child should recognise an unsafe situation as anything they find uncomfortable, upsetting, inappropriate, threatening, abusive or dangerous. They should never err on the side of caution and always be open to talking to you as a parent, or to another adult.
5. Attend school meetings
It’s important for parents to attend school meetings as often as possible to ascertain whether there are any bullying problems or issues and to find out the school policies and updates in relation to these areas.
6. Classroom safety
Communication with your child is important when it comes to safety in the classroom. It’s a good idea to teach your child how to resolve potential problems in the classroom, and whom to speak to in case of difficulty.
7. Online safety
Safety online is a recurring issues for parents, especially of teenagers. Research the subject and speak to your children about what they do online, who they email and chat with, and what websites they use.
Check with the school re. the blocking devices they us and protocols they have. Reassure your child that they can speak to you about anything they see online that makes them uncomfortable.
8. Travel to and from school
If your child is to travel to school independently, it’s very important to accompany them a number of times on their new school route, whether that’s on foot, by bike, or just to the nearest bus stop. Doing this will acquaint them with the routine and you can discuss any personal safety issues they may face.
Go through traffic safety guidelines with them and encourage them to travel with friends or siblings. Teach them never to speak to strangers, accept anything from them, or go anywhere with them. Ensure that they know their own phone number and address. Teach them how to take care of their personal belongings.