7 Must Read Safety Tips For Going Back To School

With the kids going back to school, we know every parent has safety on their minds this September. With so much information circulating, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We want to keep it simple and highlight the top 7 tips for going back to school safely.

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1. Do Your Homework

In this age of technology, there are ample programs and apps available for parents to learn about the potentially dangerous people and activities that may be around your child's school.  Type in your school's address to the sex offender registry and a crime-watching app to know what safety risks your child may encounter, especially if walking to and from school.  Monitor crimes committed in the area, particularly gang activity and any situations in which there is a violent suspect at-large and unaccounted for.

2. Communication Is Key

Make sure that your child knows about the importance of school safety. Sitting them down and making sure that the channels of communication are open with your children is a vital part of safety. Educating your children on the safety issues (in an age-appropriate manner) will make them more prepared in the event of an emergency.  Talk to your children about their day and who they see at school.  If you notice anything out of the ordinary, say something to their teacher or the principal.  Instill that mindset in your children as well.  The "see something, say something" approach can help save lives!

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3. Lead By Example

You are the primary safety and security provider for your family.  Find a reputable company or trainer and get some training.  Proper training in Active Assailant, Situational Awareness, Self-Defense, First-Aid, and general preparedness is empowering and can go a long way to prevent and avoid tragedy for your family.  By taking this initiative, you will impart to your children that this is a life-style and mindset to take seriously and will encourage them to live safely as well.

4. Situational Awareness

Teaching your children to always be aware of their surroundings, particularly in and around school, is so important. Whether they ride the bus, walk or bike to school, or are dropped off in the mornings, children should always look out for what is happening around them.  This will help them recognize and avoid many types of safety hazards and violence before they ever occur.

5. Plan, Plan, Plan

Always having a plan is something we stress at Trident Shield and traveling to and from school and while at school is no exception.  Have your child use the buddy system if walking to school to avoid being targeted because he or she is alone.  At school, develop a plan with your child to respond to a violent attack, even if it does not correspond with the school's formal plan.  Many schools' plans are inadequate (lockdown in a room with all glass or no doors? Not going to happen!) and you should empower your child to make their own decisions to save their life in these events.

6. Stay In The Know

If time allows, join the PTA, talk to teachers and coaches, and attend school meetings.  Making yourself available to your student's teachers and staff can make a big difference in how informed you are about what's going on at school.  Also know who your child is friends with, where they hang out, and who influences them.  There are multiple programs and apps that allow you to monitor essentially all phone and social media activity, which can help you prevent any potentially dangerous behavior from escalating.

7. Become an Advocate

Find out what your school's Active Assailant plan is and give it the "smell test".  Does it sound like it will actually work?  Is the plan only to lockdown or does it provide comprehensive response options?  Do they train on this plan regularly?  Fight for safety measures in your school district by attending meetings and involving other parents.  There are resources available that can help!  If you are interested in seeing if Trident Shield can help your child's school, click here!

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