Safety First: School Bullying and Violence – How Safe is Your School and What Can You Do?

Think bullying and violence at school isn’t a problem? A recent survey of parents asking about safety concerns at their school shows the need for parents to take a proactive approach to keeping kids safe at school:

70% of parents reported their kids had been bullied – Interestingly, only 18% said the bullying was physical in nature. That means the majority was cyberbullying and verbal bullying (typical of “mean girl” behavior). As parents we can’t assume that bullying is the same as when we were kids.

Cyberbullying has reached epidemic proportions and while it happens online, it doesn’t mean that the school shouldn’t get involved in putting an end to it. Cyberbullying over the weekend spills into school on Monday. Be sure you inform school officials if your child was involved in a cyberbully incident so that they can monitor the situation during the day.

While 65% of the parents brought the bullying to the schools attention, the bullying continued in over 30% of the cases – This is particularly disturbing since both the parents and the child end up frustrated and confused as to where to turn for additional help.

According to the American Justice Department, 75% of school shootings have been linked to bullying and harassment. Continue to push the school for a resolution to a bullying incident and, if necessary, get local law enforcement involved.

A whopping 51% felt only somewhat confident that schools did a good job handling bullying and violence – Schools are working hard to reach out to students by developing programs that deal with bullying directly. Research shows that “zero-tolerance” policies aren’t enough on their own. These policies must be paired with programs that promote a balanced social atmosphere at school.

Such programs should focus on the fact that bullying is not a rite of passage and not acceptable at school. Technology solutions such as surveillance cameras help tremendously in cutting down on bullying. Find out from your school their specific plans on addressing bullying and violence and the safety devices they have in place to help.

After being bullied, the thing that worried parents most were a kid bringing a gun to school and a sexual predator getting in – All of that worry can be put to an end with new technology solutions, like visitor management systems. The system scans a visitor’s identity to confirm who they are and also runs their identity through a national sexual offender database.

There are also notification systems to instantly notify students, parents, and teachers of emergencies and critical information. These notifications will cover school violence, weather-related, or facility issues.

Less than 30% of respondents said their schools doors are locked at all times and only 35% even needed to show a photo ID upon entering the school – If your child’s school does not keep their doors locked at all times or require a photo ID before entering the school, SPEAK UP! There have been way too many incidents that have already occurred.

If the doors are unlocked and no one is checking your photo ID that means anyone can enter, including: predators, non custodial parents, disgruntled former employees, unhappy alumni who hold a grudge against a teacher, or gang members. Test out your schools safety procedures yourself. If you can find a way of getting into the school by bypassing a check-in, then so can anyone else.

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About Alison Jacobson
Alison Rhodes, also known as The Safety Mom, is a nationally-recognized family safety expert, motivational speaker and coach. She frequently appears on national television discussing a variety of issues facing old and young alike including bullying, distracted driving and caregiving. She is the mom of four children, step-mom of another four children and the caregiver to her son with special needs and husband with MS.

  • Kathy

    Appreciate your thoughtful advice to families.  Parents can help administrators by insisting that school bullying prevention best practices be implemented at their child’s school.  Evidence-based prevention will increase student safety and benefit all students and faculty.  For information on best practices and what parents can do to stop school bullying, go to:  http://www.antibullyingconcepts.com . Thank you, Kathy Morgan, LCSW, LCDC Anti-Bullying Concepts

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