School is now in full swing! Though schools are often a safe place to be in, they are just as susceptible to crime as other places. This can include cyberbullying, drug abuse, school violence and more. The National Crime Prevention Council has some great resources on their website for parents, administrators, students, etc. for all of these crimes.
The internet is incredibly prevalent in a young person’s life. It’s how they stay in touch with their friends, work on projects or homework and more. Unfortunately there are bullies who hide behind their computer screen and bully others. This is known as cyberbullying and should be taken just as a serious as face to face or physical bullying and this can be done over the phone or online. The bully may be a stranger, classmate or someone else a person might know. It’s hard for a parent to know exactly what their child is doing on the internet but parents can help. It starts with a conversation. Below are some of the tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.
• If someone sends a mean or threatening message, don't respond. Save it or print it out and show it to an adult.
• Don't put anything online that you wouldn't want your classmates to see, even in email.
• Don't send messages when you're angry. Before clicking "send," ask yourself how you would feel if received the message.
• Set up email and chat accounts with your children. Make sure that you know their screen names and passwords and that they don't include any personal information in their online profiles.
• Regularly go over their instant messenger "buddy list" with them. Ask who each person is and how your children know him or her.
• Print this list of commonly used acronyms in instant messenger and chat rooms from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and post it by your computer.
Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs play a role in today’s youth. Drug use can lead to addiction and other consequences. One of the reasons a kid might not use tobacco, alcohol or other drugs is because of their parents and the positive influence they have set. This is why it’s incredibly important to have these conversations.
• Make clear rules and enforce them consistently.
• Give praise when your children follow rules and meet expectations.
• Discuss the legal issues. A conviction for a drug offense can lead to time in prison or cost someone a job, driver’s license, or college loan.
It’s vitally important that parents, students and administrators collaborate on the issue of school violence. Below are tips for those mentioned above and anyone else interested in school safety.
• Enforce zero-tolerance policies toward the presence of weapons, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
• Develop protocols between law enforcement and the school about ways to share information on at-risk youth.
• Develop resource lists that provide referral services for students who are depressed or otherwise under stress.
• Teach children to resolve problems without fighting. Explain that fighting could lead to them getting hurt, hurting someone else, or earning a reputation as a bully. Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.
• Be aware that often bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus – who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.
• Talk to your children about their day. Sometimes children won’t tell you right away if they are having problems at school. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.
• Report suspicious behavior or talk by other students to a teacher or counselor at your school.
• Welcome new students and help them feel at home in your school.
• Help others settle disputes peacefully.