Tips for Making Your Child Safe at School (Guest Post)

No one wants to be a “helicopter parent” who hovers around their child in a constant state of vigilance, just waiting for a tragedy to happen. But being a completely care-free parent is not necessarily a viable option either. These suggestions will help you keep your child safe while allowing them to grow and learn. While they may seem like common sense, these tips are often over-looked by even the most guarded of parents.

To and From School

  • If your child walks to school or the bus stop, walk the route with them before school begins. If they are old enough to walk alone, take time to point out places they should avoid on their route; such as abandoned buildings or full parking lots. Have a conversation with your child about strangers and the risks involved with talking to them. 
  • Meet with your child’s bus driver. Write down their name, license number, and get a copy of their driving record. Speak to the driver about their policies regarding bullying or disruptions on the bus. Give the driver your phone number in case of emergencies. 
  • Do NOT put key chains or any sort of decorative item inscribed with your child’s name on their back pack, or anywhere easily seen by others. Kidnappers have been known to follow children and call them by name because they can see it. If a child thinks they know a person because that person knows them, they are more likely to be abducted as they will not have their guard up. 
At School

  • Teach your child conflict resolution tactics to prepare them for any negative relationships they may encounter at their school. If your child is being bullied, advise them to politely ask their tormentor to cease. If this does not work, they should walk away (or run if in danger of bodily harm) and seek assistance from an adult in authority. Nurture your relationship with your child and keep an eye out for warning signs that your child is being bullied, such as lack of appetite or change in grades. 
  • Before your child begins a school year, discuss with the principal the school’s emergency protocols. Ask what the policy is in the event of any situation you can think of, such as a fire, natural disaster or a school intruder. Get a copy of these procedures and go over them with your child. 
  • Come up with a safe word that only YOU and your child know. Encourage your child to call you (either from the school office or an emergency cell phone) if they are having a problem at school and need to be picked up. They can use the safe word so that you both know that they need to come home. Something unique but not too noticeable is best – like “scotch tape” or “refrigerator”.”
  • Update your contact information with the school. Give your child’s school a list of people that you have approved to pick your child up or remove from school should you not be available. Make it clear to your child that they are under no circumstances to leave the school with someone they don’t know, even if that person tells them that they know their parents. This is a good opportunity for your safe word as well, if you MUST have someone not approved on your list pick your child up, give them the safe word. Tell your child that this person will relay the word to them and then and ONLY then, may they leave with that person. 

Many of these tips may seem pretty obvious but you can never be too safe. Accidents and tragedies happen every day, help keep your family safe and stay informed. 

Jenna Sanchez writes about parenting, safety and education. Her recent work lists the Best Education Degrees in the US.

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