Most parents “don’t know what they don’t know” about school safety. And too often, no one is rushing to tell them.
The safety of their child at school is the only thing more important to parents than their child’s academic achievement. We are doing many good things in our schools to keep kids safe. But too often, school leaders are not proactively communicating these things to parents.
We suggest school administrators proactively use a variety of methods for communicating with parents on school safety:
- Parent newsletters
- Electronic tools such as e-newsletters, email blasts, Twitter, and other social media
- School district and individual school web site pages dedicated to school safety and crisis planning topics
- PTA/PTO or other parent organization newsletters
- Dedicated discussion time for safety issues at PTA/PTO meetings
- Parent awareness seminars, workshops, and training sessions on specific safety topics such as Internet safety, school crisis response expectations, security procedures, and school resources for violence prevention and intervention
- Board meeting informational presentations on school safety with time for feedback from parents and the school-community
Trying to reassure parents their school is a safe place immediately after a shooting, stabbing, viral text message rumor of violence, or other high-profile incident is a tough, if not impossible, task. A school leader’s credibility, and a parent’s confidence in their child’s school, begins far before any specific school violence incident ever occurs.
How does your school communicate with parents about school safety and emergency preparedness?