If weighs on the heart and is highly disappointing to say that sending our children to school these days can feel unsafe for both the parent and the student. There’s a lot that the society and the government needs to do, however, we as parents and the school staff have to be prepared for all sorts of worst-case scenario such as an active shooter on campus. There are other possible emergencies that the parents and schools need to prepare for.
Parents can help ease their children’s anxiety — and their own — by creating a school emergency plan checklist. What else should parents know about school safety hazards?
Does the School Have an Emergency Plan?
Natural disasters, weather-related emergencies, and physical threats are all incidents that could happen during school hours. Parents shouldn’t assume that the school has a contingency plan in place or that the students are trained on what to do.
In addition to active human threats, there are many other ways children can face danger at school, but overall, the education system is safe. It’s why so many people attend school daily, most of them without any serious threats occurring throughout their time getting educated.
Most schools have different levels of responses to safety risks. Parents must familiarize themselves with the terms and ensure their children understand them, too.
- Evacuation: Students and staff leave the building to another location and return to the building when the danger has passed.
- Shelter-in-place: Students and faculty remain in the classrooms or other designated safe rooms with the doors shut.
- Lockdown: During a lockdown, students and staff remain in classrooms or other secure areas by locking the doors and staying away from doors and windows until the threat is over.
- Lockout: No one is allowed in or out of the building, though some movement is allowed inside the school.
Parents should find out the school’s specific plan for various incidents instead of assuming a plan is in place.
How Are Parents Alerted to Safety Hazards?
Hundreds of parents rushing to the school during an emergency only increases the bedlam and chaos. Yes, parents should be informed, but there isn’t a set policy that all schools follow.
Some institutions inform the parents of minor incidents via email after the fact. Other schools may have a text alert system that immediately notifies anyone signed up for the service.
Before the school year begins, parents should seek information on how the school alerts parents to safety hazards or incidents on campus.
What Parents Should Do During School Emergencies
It will be difficult for any parent to ignore their instinct and try to get to their children during an emergency at school. It’s futile to tell parents not to flock to the campus. But there are other things parents can and should do to prepare their children for emergencies happening during school hours.
- Create a unification plan.
- Ensure the school has the correct contact information for parents/guardians.
- Keep a backup of your child’s medicine at the school.
- Inform the school if your child has special needs during an emergency, such as communication assistance for a deaf student.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that over half of school-age students fear a school shooting. Parents should regularly talk to their children to see how they feel about their fears.
Not all school safety hazards involve an active shooter. Instead of being specific, as a parent, try to help prepare your children for all types of emergencies that may occur during school hours.