Does your principal and superintendent really care about school safety? Chances are good the answer is, “Yes.”
The problem is that caring alone is just not enough today. Educators are on overload with academic, budget, facility, and other urgent day-to-day issues. They care about school safety, but it is increasingly challenging for them to find the time to proactively beef up school safety plans, train staff, test crisis plans, and implement prevention programs (for starters).
School safety budgets are also facing major setbacks, which makes tackling school safety even more challenging. School security and police officers, counselors, psychologists, intervention specialists, and other support staff positions are being cut in many districts around the nation. And the only thing school officials have less of than money is time, in many cases.
Academic reform and pressures to improve test scores have put administrators’ jobs on the line. While they care about school safety, the urgency of other educational and operational issues poses a direct competition with school safety for administrators’ time and attention.
But caring about school safety alone is not sufficient. Parents, students, and staff will not want to hear about budget cuts or academic reform distractions if a student or teacher is seriously hurt or killed at school. To them, safety must always be the top priority in both caring and action.
School safety is therefore not only a “money” issue or a “time” issue. It is a “leadership” issue. A progressive school leader not only cares about school safety, he or she acts proactively on school safety, security, and emergency preparedness planning and tasks.
Caring about school safety is best demonstrated by actions, not just words.
What specific actions have your school leaders taken to improve safety at your school this year?
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