What can students do to improve safety in their school? One group of students in Texas told us that they saw a need for three things in their school:
1. Deal with the issue of disrespect. Student to student disrespect, as well as student to staff disrespect.
2. Enforce the rules already on the books in a firm, fair, and consistent manner.
3. Tighten security, but don’t create a prison-like environment in school.
Many students know what issues concern them in terms of school safety. They also have ideas as to what should be done to address these issues. But many times this information does not make it to the adults who need to hear from them.
Some things that students can consider doing to improve school safety include taking the following steps or asking the questions below to see if these issues need to be addressed in your school:
1. Survey your fellow students to find out what safety concerns they have and how they would improve school safety. Maybe an anonymous questionnaire survey would work or perhaps discussions in homerooms or social studies classes. However it is done, see what other students have concerns about and, most importantly, what they would do to improve these areas.
2. Work on your school climate and culture. How can you deal with issues of respect and countering disrespect? How can you build a better understanding and tolerance for diversity among students? How can conflicts be solved peaceably?
3. Are your school rules adequate? Are they enforced firmly, fairly, and consistently? How could adults do a better job in enforcing school rules? Are there new rules needed or are existing rules just not enforced? Get student input on these issues and share your findings with school administrators.
4. Do students understand the law? Are there speakers from the police department, courts, or other outside organizations that you can bring to school to talk with students about law-related issues? How about speakers on violence, violence prevention, and other related social issues? Find out what resources are available outside of your school and work to bring them to your classes and school events.
5. Research youth crime prevention programs. Is there something that you can start at your school that would be meaningful in helping improve school safety?
6. Report specific threats and safety concerns to a responsible adult in a timely fashion. Make sure that if you and others know about something that is supposed to happen that you tell someone (teachers, administrators, parents, police, or some other responsible adult) as soon as you know. It is not “snitching.” It may very well be saving a life!
7. How can security be improved in your school, on school grounds, and to and from school without making it seem like you’re in a prison? Identify specific concerns and problem areas, and let adults know what needs to be done to improve security in these areas!
8. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. Make sure that you’re a part of the school safety solution by following the rules, respecting others, and contributing to school safety!
These are just a few ideas to start.
Please check back. We will be working to further develop this page. Students are encouraged to e-mail us with your thoughts and suggestions on what we can include on this page!