Students deserve a safe environment in which to live, learn and grow. Unfortunately, the threat of violence is a presence in many communities and has grown in a number of schools across the country.
What You Can Do:
Talk to Your Children
Provide a safe environment for kids to ask questions and openly express their worries and concerns.
Recognize the Warning Signs
Even small changes in behavior (ex: moodiness, changes in sleep, anti-social behavior, change in school performance) can give you an early warning that something is troubling your child.
Know When to Intervene
If you see children exhibiting behavior or attitudes that could potentially harm themselves or others, talk to their parents or, if it's your child, do something to stop it.
Be aware of your kid's school work loads and grades, be informed about existing emergency plans and procedures, and get to know their friends.
Watch "Helping Your Kids Cope With Trauma"
During this webinar, Co-hosted by the American Psychological Association, families will learn how to address when traumatic events happen to kids and when kids witness traumatic events through the media, how to talk to kids openly and directly when traumatic things occur, and how to know when they might need more help than you can give them.
What PTAs Can Do:
- Read National PTA's position statement on violence prevention and resolution on violence in schools.
- Organize a Community Violence Prevention Forum or Crisis Management Team: Work with other concerned parents, teachers, school leaders, and community members to influence decisions that affect the safety and well-being of our children.
- Host one of Sandy Hook Promise's "Know the Signs" programs, which teaches kids, parents, teachers, and community members to recognize warning signs like social isolation and behavioral shifts – and how to report them.
- Help to Develop a School Emergency Operations Plan (EOP): The most effective plans are developed in cooperation with school and health officials, parents, and community members, and should include:
- Descriptions of school safety policies, detection of early warning signs in children, intervention strategies, emergency response plans, and post-crisis procedures.
- Designation of a parent/child reunification location, use of school public address/automatic call systems, lock-down procedures, etc.
- Parents should inquire as to admittance procedures during school hours, number of trainings and drills per school year, and collaboration with local law enforcement.
- Make Your Voices Heard: Write an editorial for the local newspaper, hold a petition drive, speak before a school board meeting, or send a letter to elected officials.