Schools should be a safe place for children to learn and grow, but sometimes, children can be put in danger in an emergency while on campus.
Here are a few tips to teach your child to stay safe while away at school:
Make sure they are aware of the school’s surroundings
In an emergency, your child may need to know how to get out quickly or find a safe place to hide. Make sure your child is familiar with the locations of the school’s security offices, as well as all the exits and safe spaces on or near the school grounds in case they need to use them.
If they have to leave the school grounds, make sure they know to never leave with a stranger and that they should let someone know where they are going.
Establish an emergency pick-up location with your child if they ever have to leave school property. Also, find out the school’s plan for how you would be reunited with your child in an emergency.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends that your children always carry a “backpack emergency card” which includes emergency contact information, doctor’s contact information and any special needs your child might have, including allergies or medical conditions.
Remind them to trust their instincts and be aware of who is around them. If they feel like someone looks suspicious or out of place, tell them to stay away and tell a trusted adult.
Whether it’s a stranger on campus, a fellow student behaving strangely or just feeling uneasy about something, they need to know who to go to for help.
Here are some people they can go to:
Their teacher: Children should understand that teachers are there to help and want them to feel safe in the classroom. If something is happening that makes them feel unsafe, your child should know to tell them and understand that they will do everything they can to help.
A school counselor: Counselors are at school to help with any problems a child is having. Tell your children that if they are feeling uneasy or unsafe, counselors are trained to help them.
A trusted friend: Children sometimes feel like it is easier to talk to someone who is their age and knows them well. Teach your child to talk to a friend and tell them what’s happening or ask for their help if they feel unsafe.
Nearly every school has a plan for various emergencies. Before the school year starts, reach out to your child’s school to learn more about the plans it has in place.
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