Increasing Violence is an Issue In Schools
The tragedies plaguing the education system reach much deeper and affect many more students than those in college or high school. When we see the news, automatically the horrors of active school shooters, gang violence and other crimes hit us and make us want to install more security cameras and make use of gun safes in our communities and households. However, an issue that is often ignored and set aside is the dangers that our children face in school that don’t include mass shooting tragedies.
According to the U.S. National Center for Educational Statistics, bullying is a significant threat to the safety of our children, and can lead to depression, anxiety, and worst of all suicide. In addition, not only does bullying come in the form of taunting, making fun of one’s education status or intelligence , or other mental and emotional abuse, but it can lead to physical abuse and assault of a child at the hands of their bully. It’s reported that of those students who reported being bullied, 13 percent were made fun of, called names, or insulted, 12 percent had rumors spread around their school about them, five percent were physically harassed, including spitting, shoving, and pushing, and five percent were excluded from activities on purpose.
Why Safety Matters
Of course, we trust the education system, all the way from pre-kindergarten to high school, to be able to protect our children and provide safety, resources, and outlets to them. However, due to an education system that is constantly cut from budgeting, is under-staffed and has teachers who are underpaid and overworked, ensuring that your child is receiving care and safety 100 percent of the time is almost impossible.In addition, most schools do not offer 24 hour emergency care should your child become sick or injured, but instead rely on a staffed nurse or other medical professionals on hand, if they are lucky enough to have one on campus.
Luckily, there are steps you can take in order for you to ensure that your child is receiving the proper level of education in a safe, warm and uplifting environment. Here are five tips you can use in order to protect your child in the education system even further, and prepare them to be successful adults.
1. Attend Your Child’s Sports Games And Encourage Team Sports
Continuing education programs allow adults such as yourself to work full time, while still advancing their career, creating their own schedule, and are overall an unbeatable option for busy, on-the-go parents.Though this is a great career move and can help you become more financially stable for your child, making sure that you are not one of the many parents that cannot balance work and personal life is essential.
One of the biggest ways to build up a child’s self-esteem, confidence, and overall health is to enroll them in sports. The right kind of competitive sport can even prepare your child for a talented future if discovered and trained early on. What is competitive you might ask, when it comes to sports? Sports that allow a child to gain gratification and feel a sense of accomplishment when won amongst a person, or team, are considered competitive. Sports such as taekwondo, karate, basketball, baseball, or even pickleball can all be equally competitive, and all can work to strengthen your child’s self image and self esteem.
However, it’s not just enough to enroll a child into sports. As part of the education system, sports play a comprehensive part of a school’s spirit, even sometimes funding in the form of grants. Being able to integrate into the sports life of your child’s education system can be both gratifying, but also difficult. Countless games, travelling, sports conventions and competitive games can lead to a tired parent, but also one that your child knows will be there to support them no matter what the outcome of a game is. Sports is just one way to build a bond with your child, expose them to friendship, camaraderie, and keep them safe and away from negativity that could plague their education. Who knows, maybe you two could wear matching pickleball shirts and be the pickleball champions of the world?
2. Enroll Your Child In Appropriate Level Programs
Part of ensuring your child’s safety is ensuring that they are around like-minded peers, dedicated teachers, and actively working towards a higher education even at a young age. Programs such as AVID, GATE, and other special or gifted programs are available to students who show promise in the education system, and can prove to be not just useful to improve your child’s skills in reading, math, writing, etc., but also ensure that the staff that host these programs are doing their best to ensure the safety of your child.
As mentioned before, sometimes bullying can come in the form of taunts, and a big safety issue for your child is this very ridicule that is aimed at discouraging the continuing education of your child. A child might feel they do not belong, or are too nerdy or weird, and might begin to fail in their education studies and even give in to the bullying and stop trying in all other aspects of life. The great thing about advanced, or lower level programs designed to help children that need more attention, such as ESL, is that there is often a support group of similar students, in addition to teachers, that can give your child support and encouragement to continue their education at whatever level they are at.
Whether your child is extremely gifted, or needs extra help, or is even talented in another niche such as art or public speaking, being able to enroll your child in a program that’s appropriate to their education level and talents will give them a support system, added resources to their education, and above all, provide a layer of confidence, safety and protection from bullying.
Before you enroll your child in any gifted program, it’s best to research it thoroughly and see if it is a good fit, will not overburden your child’s education and school life, and has teachers that are professionals in the field. For example, a history teacher teaching a gifted math class might not be a good fit, or vice versa, so being informed could keep your child’s education both well-rounded, exciting, and also top notch.
3. Listen Carefully to Your Child’s Conversation and Gossip
Invasion of privacy is never a good option, and can compromise your child’s safety by leading them to turn to sneaky and risky behaviors in order to rid themselves of their overbearing parent. In addition, invading your child’s privacy can make them feel as if they are not old enough to make their own decisions, and can have dire consequences in halting both their progress in maturity as well as education levels.
However, if you listen carefully, children, teens, and young adults are somehow expressing their issues to you. Plan outings with your children, visit restaurants or children’s museums, and all the while, pay attention to the conversations they are interested in having with you. For example, is it a conversation about how to pay for education later on in life? Or a conversation about why teachers are so mean and rude? Even small conversations and curiosities, such as a child desperately wanting invisalign because someone said their teeth are crooked, or they want a new haircut or feel “fat” or “ugly” could all point to signs of safety issues at school and bullying. They might even be asking you for help, but just don’t know how if they feel unsafe. Some might even be threatened if they are victims of abuse. In cases like this, it’s important to gain your child’s confidence, and ensure them that as a parent, you are bigger then their abuser, and well equipped to handle the situation they are going through. From bullying on behalf of a student or even a teacher, to mental, or even physical and sexual abuse that could be unknown to you, it’s important to never brush off a child’s questions or conversations, but listen for clues and to break your child’s shell.
4. If Enrolling In Another School, Do Adequate Research
As mentioned before, the public school education system is not the best funded, best staffed, or best equipped to handle safety threats, and sometimes can pose a safety issue to children in different neighborhoods and of all income levels. As a parent, use the resources available to you, such as yelp, Facebook, the internet, and the companies own competitive strategies for your benefits. Many companies now make use of competitive intelligence to gather information and stand out to their customers.
What is competitive intelligence you might ask? Competitive intelligence is, in essence, the ability of a company to use data and research to gather as much information as possible on its competitors, demographics, even zoning areas. Because of this, different businesses, including schools, want to stand out and cater to their customers. This is a benefit, particularly if you are looking for alternative education options in a neighborhood that has various schools already in their district. The added competition of nearby schools, be it Catholic schools, special magnet schools, even extended education options for high school students all create a melting pot of schools that want to compete for your hard-earned money.
Sometimes we have no other choice but to enroll our child into an alternative education system, and thus need to turn to private options. Remember not to use your desperation to drive you to a school that has little more safety than your child’s last school, but use your future business to get more options even on tuition assistance and scholarships.
5. Ensure Proper Protocols Exist at Any School
We’ve covered sports, gaining a rapport and learning about and listening to your child’s issues in both their education and personal life, making the right decisions for private schools, and enrolling your child in the proper education program in order to maximize their safety in small ways. However, of all these things, the most important will be to ensure that proper protocols are in place in whatever school your child attends, in order to put you at ease. Even lesser known safety dangers that can affect your child, such as child abduction or parental abduction, can and do happen sometimes. Once you face the battle of custody with a child custody attorney, and visitation rights are in order for instance, how will your school know to not hand your child away to an angry mother or father? What can a school do in case your child decides to ditch? What if your child doesn’t show up to class, do you get a phone call that same day or later on? The most miscellaneous situations and protocols might seem to impossible, or far fetched to imagine, but it’s better to be prepared than to be sorry. When all other measures have been taken on your behalf, it’s up to the school to hold up their end and have air-tight and easy to follow safety protocols in place for your child’s education. This, among other safety tips, can help you feel comfortable in leaving your child alone up to eight hours a day to receive their education.
Safety Means Everything
Among other things, safety includes listening to your child’s questions and concerns, ensuring the institution they attend is following all proper protocols, doing extensive research and getting the best education and resources at an institution, and being an active parent in order to build up your child’s confidence in themselves and their education and abilities. Safety doesn’t have to limit itself to major events, but can be implemented everyday in order to protect your child from bullying, a struggling education system, and most importantly themselves.