Teen Talk – Teens and School Safety
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – This week’s “Teen Talk” is focused on advice for parents and teaching safety to teens in the school setting.
WTXL contributor and family therapist Jane Marks:
Schools typically should be places where both teachers and students feel safe. By and large, most of our schools in this country are doing a very effective job of teaching safety. As parents there are issues that you can touch on that help your kids’ focus on being aware of potential high risk situations while attending school.
1. Know your school’s emergency management crisis plan. Most schools play a critical role in protecting their students. School violence can frequently happen in specific areas; parking lots, points of entry, stairs, stairwells and restrooms and cafeterias .As parents be sure and have a sense of exactly what that plan is.
2. Develop your own safety plan with your child, a practical plan that helps lower your teen’s risk for a potential risky situation. A safety plan might be; “What is the safest place for me to get to from school?”, “If I need to leave school in an emergency, how do I get home safely?”, “who are the friends that can walk with me if I have to do this on foot?”, “where do you feel safest on campus?”, “If I have to leave in an emergency where are the safest places I can go to in public as well as in private?”
3. Know the warning signs of peers who may be on the verge of displaying violence, these include; playing with weapons of any kind, bragging about acts of violence he or she would like to commit, showing an obsession with violent movies, playing violent games, bullying or threatening other people, cruelty to pets or other animals. If you witness this, talk to a trusted adult on school grounds, a teacher, parent, counselor, or school nurse. They are more likely to hear or witness these things first.
4. Remember parents, your teens don’t have to be the victims to experience post-traumatic stress. Kids can often be hurt just by witnessing, so maintaining an atmosphere where conversation is open is a real important key to safety among teens.
5. Be careful of people on school property who don’t seem to belong there. If they appear to be a threat to the safety of the students, report them to the principal or someone else in authority.
6. If you are aware of other students bringing weapons to school, report it immediately even if you do so anonymously to protect your identity.
7. If someone at school continually makes you feel uncomfortable by commenting on your body or staring at you in offensive ways, inappropriately touching you; this is considered sexual harassment. If you feel like you are being followed, go to a more populated area.
8. When you leave school, always take a reliable route to where you are going and by all means do not take rides from someone you don’t know well, or travel along when you aren’t too sure of exactly where you are going.
9. If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted or rape at school, by all means, report it to authorities.
10. If you find yourself in a situation where you are approached by a person who poses a threat, try to remain calm, if they ask for the money in your wallet, simply give it to them.
11. Most importantly, learn to trust your instincts. If you feel like something doesn’t seem right, it probably is not.
These are just a few of the safety tips we will be addressing over the next several sessions with regard to staying safe and too often what appears to be risky situations for teens.
Watch Teen Talk every other Monday at 6:30am on WTXL’s Sunrise.