Helpful Guidelines to Keep in Mind When Talking with Children about School Safety
Talking About School Violence
Talking About School Violence 2
Talking about School Safety
Conversations with children must be developmentally appropriate:
- Young children need brief simple information that should be balanced with reassurance that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Young children respond well to basic assurance by adults and simple examples of school safety, like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children are typically more vocal in asking questions about whether they are truly safe and what is being done at their school. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
- Upper middle school students are starting to develop their own strong and varying opinions about cases of violence and start to share their own concrete suggestions about how to make the school safer. Emphasize the role that students can play to help ensure school safety. For example, not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to school safety made by students or community members, and communicating any safety concerns to adults. Students should also be reminded to access support for their emotional needs or when they need adult help.
- For students and staff who may have traumatic experiences in their past or experience high anxiety in response to drills
- Some students may have had traumatic experiences in their lives already that may impact how they respond to the drill. There are also students struggling with anxiety that may have strong, negative reactions that require more support. If you have concerns about your child participating in this drill, please contact an SSS team member listed below. If after participating in the drill, your child needs any additional emotional reassurance and support, please reach out to our team.
American Academy's Mental Health Team
Colorado School Safety Resource Center
Supporting Safe and Positive Colorado Schools
Tel: (303) 239-4435