Bullying and violence in our schools has increased. Teachers and staff are getting injured in attempts to stop physical altercations between students. Social media trends are threatening violence and our children are losing more academic time to focus on them. Behaviors have worsened and school is becoming a less safe place for our children to be.
Violence and Bullying: How can we make our kids safer?
There are several ways we can begin to make our schools a safer place to be.
School Resource Officers (SROs)
The consistent presence of two or more School Resource Officers would provide some support to the students in our schools. The presence of more than one School Resource Officer would provide more supervision in high traffic areas of the school, and the consistency would help to improve the relationship with local law enforcement officers.
Many in our community have argued that less police presence or even a complete removal of the School Resource Officers from our schools would make them safer. I believe, as most reasonable people would, our schools are safer with more officers than fewer.
It is imperative that we collaborate with our local law enforcement officers to accommodate this need. The Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Sheriff’s office are greatly understaffed, thus the extra security we need is not available. Presently, our county has an insufficient number of School Resource Officers to cover 40-plus schools in the district. These individuals must be specifically trained by the New Hanover County Sheriff.
On the other hand, we have a vast amount of retired police, military members and firefighters within our community. These heroes would require little-to-no training, and could fill in the gap for our children in this manner to provide the necessary support to School Resource Officers and staff within the schools.
Requesting more parental involvement would also benefit our students. Inviting family members, as well as local community leaders would reduce the burden already on School Resource officers and teachers.
In addition, placing closed-circuit cameras in the back of classrooms and in hallways would serve to provide administration and parents the ability to observe daily lessons, as well as ensure the safety of all students.
Accountability across Student Environments
Lastly, accountability is key in reducing violence in schools. The family unit should be utilized to reinforce consequences and encourage positive behavioral change. When a student has accountability both in school and at home, this can reinforce the change. Thus, when a student has been suspended, whether in school or out of school, a meeting with administration and the family, either in person or over the phone should occur within a set time frame. This should be a consistent response across all school campuses.