With so many health and safety concerns on the rise, parents are starting to wonder what school districts are doing to keep their kids safe.
Private schools, in general, are typically safer environments for students of all ages, but not all parents can or want to enroll their child in a private school, so they have to rely on the local public school districts to not only educate their child and keep them safe.
Local school districts, the state and the federal government are all taking steps to protect students. The problem is many of these steps are not effective.
Here’s what’s currently being done to protect your child at school:
Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and safety recommendations by the CDC and WHO, school districts around the country are implementing strategies to keep children safe from communicable diseases.
Here are 11 safety procedures many school districts have in place to stop the spread of disease:
- Mask mandates
- Social distancing
- Desk dividers
- Sanitation and hand washing
- Deep cleaning of all touchable surfaces
- Enhanced air filtration and cleaning
- Screening tests
- Quarantining individuals with COVID-related symptoms
- Vaccination campaigns
- Teaching in small cohorts
- Repurposing underused spaces
The procedures being implemented in your local area may be very different from what’s happening in other states, because some areas of the country have more stringent procedures than others. And, the lack of clarity in areas where health and safety practices are heavily impacted by politics certainly isn’t helping.
In terms of unsafe building conditions, many school districts are also using funding they received through the Federal CARES Act and the COVID-19 Relief Fund to address unsafe building issues such as updating ventilation systems and old plumbing. The EPA distributes water quality fact sheets to guide school districts in ensuring the safety of their drinking water.
When it comes to preventing traumatic events that take place within our schools, the challenge is huge and the response is fairly small.
As it stands, many school districts currently have:
- Codes of student conduct
- Anti-bullying policies
- Incident reporting
- Procedures for emergency use of seclusion and physical restraint
These certainly are not stopping school violence from happening. When it comes to enforcing discipline in schools, the school districts have their hands tied by the various laws that severely limit what they can do and how they can respond. This has created an environment that is conducive to classroom violence and disruption because students know they can basically “get away with almost anything”
School have restorative justice practices in place to help manage these issues. On paper, restorative justice means to address conflict and misconduct in a way that promotes healing instead of punishment. So a student who punches a teacher can very well get asked to clean up the school grounds to make things right.
There is now a huge market for expensive products designed to keep students and teachers safe from school shootings, including bulletproof items like whiteboards.
School districts are responding by:
- Installing metal detectors
- Keeping buildings locked
- Employing security officers
- Banning backpacks
- Practicing lockdown drills with local police
These can be effective, but it takes constant vigil by everyone to protect students.
Virtual school is a safe and effective alternative that protects our children from violence, communicable diseases and more. This will be more deeply explored in the next article.