The Total Child

Blog Tour: The Role of Education Leaders To Ensure Safe Schools

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Guest post by Dr. MaryAnn P. Jobe, Director, Leadership Development, AASA

Thanks to the AASA Children’s Program staff for having a blog tour on Healthy Schools today, April 3, 2018.

Schools today and especially the leaders of the school systems have a tremendous job to do to ensure the safety of students, staff and community in today’s world. Sometimes I am sure that it seems like an unsurmountable job. 

As a former administrator for a large urban/suburban school system, we dealt with many instances of school violence and community violence. How do work through this? Well, it is not easy. One of the most helpful ideas that emerged was to hold bi-yearly summits with school principals, school system security and the police. During these day long meetings, the school system employees learned about the newest and best tactics to use during violent situations that may occur on school campuses. And, the principals were also charged with being the community point person.

What does a healthy school environment look like today? Research suggests that educators should focus on the basic needs of childhood: food, clothing, shelter, etc. What is now emerging more than ever before is the need for advanced mental health support. Many school systems have 1 psychologist for the entire school system and there needs to be a contingent of professionals who can work with students. Over the next few months I hope that schools revisit their identification process for troubled teens and look at ways to support them and their families. And, we need families in the community to speak up. If your child is exhibiting dangerous behaviors, call the school and have a meeting about it.

Today, as gun violence in schools is a major focus especially after the shootings at MSDHS in Florida, school system employees need to be better prepared. How, do we do this? Well, there needs to be a rigorous shelter in place protocol, students and staff need to know what to do. School security guards need to be professionally trained by police or training updated if they are already receiving support and communities need to be proactive in working with the children to alleviate fears of going to school. Community forums can help get the word out. We have a lot of work to do.

Schools are still one of the safest places for children to be.

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