Safety first: Teachers, parents working together

Posted: Sunday, August 14, 2005

A safe and orderly school environment is essential for student learning, and parents can play a key role in helping schools achieve that environment.

Parents and teachers together must teach the five Rs: not just reading, writing and arithmetic, but also respect and responsibility. Here’s what parents can do:

Talk with your child about the violence he or she sees — on TV, in video games and elsewhere. Help your child understand the real-life consequences of violence.

Reassure your child that feeling anger is normal and okay. Help your child show anger and solve arguments in ways that do not involve hurting others.

Establish rules like “no hitting” and “no name calling” at home.

When you get angry, demonstrate appropriate re-sponses to your children. Talk with them about your feelings and choices.

Teach your child to avoid youngsters who bully others. Encourage your children to talk with you about incidents that make them feel afraid, embarrassed, or uncomfortable.

Role play. Practice with your child assertive — not hurtful — ways to respond to bullying.

Teach them tolerance. Help your child understand the value of individual differences and appreciate differences in schoolmates.

Get involved. Ask to see your school’s discipline and crisis response plans. Offer to help if the plans need updating.

Discuss the school’s discipline policy with your child. Show your support for the rules.

Be open. Keep lines of communications open with your child.

Talk with the parents of your child’s friends. Discuss how you can work together to ensure your children’s safety.

Make sure that children or teens don’t have unsupervised access to guns in your home.

Also, if your family tradition includes use of firearms for hunting or recreation, make sure your children are trained through a certified program in the proper use of firearms.

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