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Dr. Kevin Silberberg
As attention to school safety has never been higher, schools are taking steps to make sure those who work and learn at the school site have a strong feeling of safety.  This issue is a national concern and one shared by school officials, parents and law enforcement.

Below is a “10 list” that parents should consider before worrying about safety at the school site.  Schools take safety very serious.  Now more than ever!

1. Did you know that schools make it a number one priority to keep students safe while in the classroom, outside the classroom and as much as possible to and from school? It is, and will continue to be, the number one priority!

2. Did you know that even ten years ago, many schools were not fenced off from neighborhoods and parks?  Now, it is very rare not to have a complete boundary fence separating the school from the outside world.  

3. Did you know that internal communication systems on a school campus have never been more sophisticated? A school intercom system keeps classrooms connected to the office and the outside world.  Radio systems keep individuals on the yard connected and well coordinated.  

4. Did you know that the best defense against danger coming on campus is the eyes of the employees and students? School officials for the most part know who is and who is not an intruder but they cannot cover the entire campus. Teachers, students, aides, cafeteria workers, custodians and maintenance workers are all part of the “soft” network that keeps a school safe.  

5. Did you know that the safety plans are examined every year and updated to include new personnel, changes to evacuation locations, building modernization and dates of drills?  These plans are extensive and examined to include “what if’s” that must be addressed each year.  

6. Did you know that schools are prepared to remove students from their sites if the need arises? School officials plan for situations where it becomes necessary to remove students from the school site. This is very rare, but evacuation to another site is a plan that is practiced and planned for if the location of the school is a threat to the safety of the students.  

7. Did you know that schools will use very specific communication technologies to keep parents and guardians up to date and alerted to school emergencies? These sophisticated systems will text or call the emergency number listed on the cards filled out by parents.  

8. Did you know that more and more buses contain video surveillance technology that captures the actions of students on the bus? This technology is becoming more of the standard as schools attempt to make the bus ride to and from school as monitored as the classroom.  

9. Did you know that schools are focused not only on outside intruders, but now must have specific plans for students who harass or bully other students? Unfortunately, kids pick on other kids and this has been part of the school scene for many years (do you remember the bullies on your campus?)  Plans to decrease bullying are now formalized and must be addressed by each school district.  

10. Did you know that a child’s most basic reaction in the face of fear is to shut down, hide and deny the reality of the situation? So, if a dangerous situation took place, school officials may not know about it.  Parents are encouraged to be part of the overall safety plan of a school site and partner with school officials.

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