How dangerous are schools? While I have always been aware of the public schools’ dismal academic failures, it was only recently that I began to consider them dangerous. I had heard of the notorious school shootings, but I assumed they were extremely rare aberrations. Then I dismissed the ever increasing “school violence” as an “inner city” crisis. But, the theme keeps repeating itself over and over: kid beaten to death – at school, young girl raped – at school, boy commits suicide over harassment - at school. Now there is a national campaign to stop ”bullying.” Recently, even the President has gotten involved.
So, I started thinking back to my time in school and talking with others about their experiences and do you know what I realized - everybody is right, school really can be a dangerous place. 100 percent of the “real” violence that I have witnessed in my life occurred at school. Since I graduated high school, I have not witnessed a single fight. In fact, since high school I have not seen any drugs or any violence. Isn’t that interesting. When I was the most vulnerable as a child in school, I was exposed to drugs, sexual abuse, and violence, but as soon as I became an adult those things seemed to disappear. That is scary. Even scarier is the fact that in case after case, the parents claim they had no idea their child was even having issues!
This puts parents in a tough situation. We want our children to get an education, but we also want them to come out in one piece. We know that we can’t count on school officials, and teachers are already overwhelmed. Well, I don’t have a perfect solution, but here are a few tips that may help keep your children safe while they get their education.
1. Homeschool: Homeschoolers generally get a better education and they are a lot less likely to be assaulted at home. So, don’t rule this option out. If things start getting out of hand, homeschooling is the best way for you to take charge of the situation.
2. Pick your kids up from school. Most of the drug abuse and violence occur on the way to and from school. Sometimes the bus is the worst place, because kids are trapped and have no way to escape their tormentors.
3. Don’t tolerate bad influences. When it comes to people, you can often judge a book by its cover. If he walks, talks, dresses, and acts like a gangster – he probably is. If he looks like he is doing drugs – he probably is. And if she looks sexually active – she probably is. Even if you are wrong, there is a reason these kids have chosen to present themselves they way they do.
4. Pick your children’s friends. Be proactive and help pick your children’s friends. You can do this by getting them involved in your church, or other safe and positive environments. Not that bad things can’t happen there, but hopefully you are placing them in environments where kids of similar values congregate. Also, make sure you “know” your children’s friends. Meeting them once is not enough. You should have a relationship with their parents and have a pretty good idea of what kind of people that they are.
5. Family Time: Family time is a great way to stimulate positive relationships. If you have a good relationship with your children, you will likely know when your children are facing social problems at school before the issues get out of hand. Kids see there “friends” all day at school, so family-time should take precedence in the little time children have away from school.
6. Self Defence: Teach your children how to protect themselves. I realize that in many situations the victims are targeted by several other bullies, but hey, learning a little self-defense can only help. Who wants to mess with a wrestler, boxer, or mixed martial artist?
School violence isn’t likely to disappear any time soon, but hopeful these tips will help keep your children safe at school. If you have any of your own suggestions, please leave a comment.
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