School should be the one place your children are safest outside of your home. Unfortunately today, schools are not the safe zone they used to be.
In this three-part series, we’ll investigate potential safety issues you and your children may face when they attend traditional brick & mortar schools.
To begin with, bullying and school violence run rampant in schools across the United States. If your child goes to a brick-and-mortar school—whether it be a public, charter, or private school—it is very likely they will be a victim, or at least witness, bullying and school violence.
Bullying has taken a sinister turn in recent years. What was once name calling and hair pulling has morphed into something far worse. Unfortunately, today there are more types of bullying and more severe bullying incidents. So much so that we now categorize them.
In Person Bullying
Today students face severe instances of bullying. Things like getting intentionally isolated from peers, having personal items stolen, being peed on in the bathroom, being victimized by vicious rumors, and getting things thrown at them in class are all examples of the in-person bullying being reported by teachers.
Unlike the old days when you could leave school and your bully behind, students today can be victimized at all hours of the day through social media and directly using tools included in their electronic devices such as smart phones.
Cyberbullies don’t just contact the person they’re targeting, they make it a community event. They include large groups of the victim’s peers or post very public and very nasty things about them via social media or group texting. From outright lies to sharing compromising photos of the victim, cyberbullying can be brutal and inescapable for the person being targeted.
Physical and Sexual Assaults
An estimated 282,000 students per month are physically assaulted on school property. These physical assaults include anything from hitting to punching, slapping, kicking, shoving, having things thrown at them, and getting spit on. If these assaults are not directed specifically toward a student, they are directly impacted by witnessing assaults on their friends, classmates, peers, teachers, administrators, or other staff members.
Property damage has become a huge problem in brick-and-mortar schools. Students are often pulled out of classrooms for their own safety as their peers destroy entire classrooms—throwing laptops, turning over bookshelves, shoving desks, and breaking windows. Busses being vandalized along with student or staff’s cars keyed or spray painted are also examples of property damage that administration needs to monitor.
Lockdown drills, or active shooter drills, are now a regular part of the school experience since the Columbine shooting in 1999. While practicing an active shooting two to three times per year can be traumatizing enough, schools go on actual lockdown far more often than most people realize.More than 4.1 million students in the US have experienced one or more lockdowns recently.
Safety officers are employed in school districts that can afford them. Safety officers are trained to provide security, work with at-risk students, and help develop emergency plans for the district. Those school districts that can’t afford safety officers are forced to “fend for themselves” and student safety is in the hands of already overwhelmed administrators.