Crime Prevention: Working Together To
Create Safer Schools
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Students, Parents, School Staff, Community Partners and Law Enforcement
Ideas on how to create a safe school
Creating a safe place where children can learn and grow depends on a partnership among students, parents, teachers, and other community institutions. To prevent school violence each partner has to take action.
Here are some practical suggestions for young people, parents, school staff and others in the community.
- Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons. If you don’t know how, learn how.
- Don’t carry guns, knives, or other weapons to school.
- Report crimes or suspicious activities to the police, school authorities or parents.
- Tell a school official immediately if you see another student with a gun, knife or other weapon.
- Tell a teacher, parent or trusted adult if you’re worried about a bully, threats or violence by another student.
- Learn safe routes for traveling to and from school and stick to them. Know good places to seek help.
- Don’t use alcohol or other drugs, and stay away from places and people associated with them.
- Get involved in your school’s anti-violence activities. Hold an anti-violence poster contest, hold an anti-drug rally, volunteer to counsel peers. If there isn’t a program at your school, help start one.
- Sharpen your parenting skills. Emphasize and build on your children’s strengths.
- Teach your children how to reduce their risks of becoming crime victims.
- Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and who they are with, at all times.
- Set clear rules about acceptable activities, in advance.
- Ask your children about what goes on during the school day. Listen to what they say and take their concerns and worries seriously.
- Help your children learn non-violent ways to handle frustration, anger and conflict.
- Do not allow your child to carry guns, knives or other weapons.
- Become involved in your child’s school activities, PTA and field trips, and help out in class or the lunchroom.
- Work with other parents in your neighborhood to start a block parent program.
- Evaluate your school’s safety objectively. Set targets for improvement. Be honest about crime problems and work toward improving the situation.
- Develop consistent disciplinary policies, good security procedures and incident response plans.
- Train school personnel in conflict resolution, problem solving, drug prevention, crisis intervention cultural sensitivity, classroom management and counseling skills.
- Make sure staff can recognize trouble signs and identify potentially violent students.
- Encourage students to talk about concerns about activities in their school, home and neighborhood. Carefully listen to what they say.
- If a student makes a threat of violence, take him or her seriously. Address the problem immediately and act to prevent a potential conflict.
- When something violent and frightening happens at school or in the neighborhood, take time to talk about it. Discuss the consequences and get students to think about what other choices, besides violence, might have been available. Get help from trained counselors, if necessary.
- Work with students, parents, law enforcement, local government, and community-based groups to develop community-wide crime prevention efforts.
- Law enforcement can report on the type of crimes in the surrounding community and suggest ways to make schools safer.
- Have police or organized groups of adults patrol routes students take to and from school.
- Community-based groups, church organizations, and other service groups can provide counseling, extended learning programs, before and after school activities and other community crime prevention programs.
- State and local governments can develop model school safety plans and provide funding for schools to implement the programs.
- Local businesses can provide apprenticeship programs, participate in adopt-a-school programs or serve as mentors to area students.
- Colleges and universities can offer conflict management courses to teachers or assist school officials in implementing violence prevention curricula.
When crime drugs and violence spill over from the streets into the schools, providing a safe learning environment becomes increasingly difficult.
Many students must travel through gang turf or groups of drug dealers. More students are carrying weapons for protection; gunfights replace fistfights.
Violence has become an acceptable way to settle conflicts. This kind of an environment makes it difficult for teachers to teach and children to learn.