Creating a safe school requires planning and constant vigilance. It's not just a matter of locking all the doors and windows any more. You have to be aware of electronic threats including stealing confidential data and more. School safety has to be everyone's responsibility. Everybody, from the head of school to the maintenance staff, can be your eyes and ears.
This Australian Web site reminds us that bullying is not limited to North America. "We are working together to create learning environments where every student and school community member is safe, supported, respected, valued — and free from bullying, violence, harassment and discrimination."
Film maker Michael Moore pulls no punches in this teacher's guide to his movie Bowling for Columbine
"The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use provides research and outreach services to address issues of the safe and responsible use of the Internet. We provide guidance to parents, educators, librarians, policy-makers, and others regarding effective strategies to assist young people in gaining the knowledge, skills, motivation, and self-control to use the Internet and other information technologies in a safe and responsible manner."
This useful overview of emergency planning from the Federal Department of Education can offer talking points for your school's safety planning. While the focus is on issues in public schools, private schools need to be aware of what is happening in larger arenas.
"i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to educate and empower youth to make their Internet experiences safe and responsible. The goal is to educate students on how to avoid dangerous, inappropriate, or unlawful online behavior. i-SAFE accomplishes this through dynamic K-12 curriculum and community outreach programs to parents, law enforcement, and community leaders. It is the only Internet safety foundation to combine these elements."
"Why do some kids kill? Find out how they gain access to firearms, and how to keep your kids safe from gun violence at school and at home."
In the self-assessment, users answer 12 questions focused on data and physical security. Following the survey, participants will be given scores that can be compared with national averages, which were generated based on input from 400 district IT and security directors.
Glenn Woiceshyn, a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute, states profoundly: "To stop students from acting like animals, we must start regarding them as thinking human beings."
"Tolerance.org is a principal online destination for people interested in dismantling bigotry and creating, in hate's stead, communities that value diversity." School violence has its roots in hate and anger. Promoting diversity in your school defuses hate. Not immediately, but certainly over time.
In my youth the only time you saw a tattoo was when you met a soldier or a sailor. I am not kidding. Now tattoos can be a not so subtle expression of personal hate and prejudice. Be aware. Be alert.
School violence is the wild card in running a private school. You just do not know when it will erupt. Use The American Psychological Association's Web site to teach your staff what to look for.
"WiredSafety provides help, information and education to Internet and mobile device users of all ages. We help victims of cyberabuse ranging from online fraud, cyberstalking and child safety, to hacking and malicious code attacks. We also help parents with issues, such as MySpace and cyberbullying." Ignore electronic bullying at your own peril. Even private school students can bully and be bullied electronically.