Consider school safety from the inside out

Updated 6/19/2018 11:02 AM

I am a veteran teacher and a mother of three. With the society we live in today, the topic of safety is of the utmost importance. No more excuses, enough finger pointing. We need to talk, listen, create plans and follow through to ensure that our schools are the safest they can be for the biggest assets in society: our children. Let's approach this from the inside out.

First of all, we need to increase our awareness. "If you see something, say something." Employ an active role and identify struggling kids. Be proactive. Provide professional development for teachers regarding social and emotional learning and well-being of students. Administrators -- set aside focus on academics or the latest data for student high stakes testing. Teach to the human side of students.


Teachers and adults in schools are truly the first line of defense if disaster strikes. Summertime is here. A new school year begins in August. Educators should contemplate the layout of their classrooms and buildings to maximize safety. Effective lockdowns require people and practices in place. Let's have experts provide teachers with the best training, and allow them to practice intruder and active shooter drills as they do for fires and tornadoes.

Finally, school officials, educators and local police should all be on the same page concerning safety. A simple security plan must outline how it will manage access to school buildings, and assign staff roles and responsibilities for employing procedures. Protocols should be clearly defined, documented and practiced regularly. Policies and procedures should be part of a school's code of conduct and school systems should ensure educators and paraprofessionals are prepared to implement them.

None of the above are new ideas, but they are reasonable, realistic and doable.

Denise Urso


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