Schools / School Safety

 The School season is  here and school pupils and students are worried about their social status and parents are worried about grades. On top of all,  school safety is an urgent topic looming above every household in Cameroon. Parents and teachers alike worry about the students’ safety during the school year.

 School Safety Checklist for every student

Every year schools and educational organizations come up with a list of  school safety tips to help students re-adjust to another year in class. While most of the safety tips are common sense, the introduction new technology and electronic devices has brought about the need for a few new tips to be added. Health concerns, safety precautions and effective ways to handle themselves during conflict should all be re-introduced and emphasized so that students have the tools they need to be successful in an educational environment.

Preparing for a New Year

Students who are entering a new school or graduating from elementary or primary school to secondary school or from scondary school to high school have some adjustments to make. The first year in a new school can be a rite of passage in some aspects. Older upperclassmen may try to intimidate or bully younger students as part of an “initiation” process. How the younger students react will determine how they are treated for the rest of the year. 

Students can prove themselves in a number of ways and avoid confrontation and conflict by following a few safety tips:

  • Friends stick together
  • Walk to and from classes with friends
  • Be self-confident
  • Be true to oneself, students must not let others define who they are
  • Remember to respect others for who they are
  • Always be aware of their surroundings
  • Never do what another student says unless it has been verified by a teacher or faculty member
  • Obey school policies
  • Help other students who are in distress

Students who have been taught to be observant of their surroundings and mindful of what is going on around them are less likely to be picked on or harassed by other students. Obeying school policies and helping to be a part of the solution when it comes to bullying will prevent the problem from getting out of control.

Entering high school can create an entirely new set of issues for a young adolescent. Not only are they entering puberty and dealing with dramatic physical changes, their emotional state is on a roller coaster all its own. They are beginning to grow into a whole new person, complete with a new physical features and emotions that, at times, can be difficult to understand. It becomes a growing process. Part of that process is remaining true to the things that are important them. Peer pressure can make a teen do things they may have otherwise avoided.

Remembering to think before they act can be difficult, especially when other students are close by and demanding an immediate response. Learning to stand up for themselves can be difficult, but after the first time of having to stand up for themselves, it becomes much easier. Once other students realize they will stand their ground, they are much less likely to get picked on or teased.

Health Related School Safety Tips

School safety tips to protect a student’s physical health are normally taught in elementary or primary schools and reinforced as they move upward through the other classes. A student’s mental and physical health should be of primary concern throughout their academic career. Safety tips are available to help protect a student’s well being and general health. Reinforcing them both in and out of school will help student’s stay focused on their education.

Safety tips for remaining physically healthy include:

  • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer
  • Cuts or scrapes should be treated by the school nurse as soon as possible
  • Never attempt any activity that can result in a physical injury
  • Avoid physical altercations of any kind
  • Report broken objects to a faculty member immediately
  • Don’t run or act recklessly when going from class to class
  • Obey traffic laws when walking to and from school

Staying physically healthy can be difficult when students are in an environment where they are constantly being exposed to an abundance of germs and viruses. Common sense tips for practicing good hygiene is the key to preventing the spread of illnesses in a school environment. Another important factor for remaining in good health is to avoid possible injuries.

Accidents will happen, but it’s always a good idea to be as careful as possible. Avoid running and rough housing in school hallways or near stairs. In cases, where a physical altercation is in progress between two students, it is probably a good idea to let adults break it up. If a student tries to intercede, they may be injured or hurt worse than the two involved in the fight.

Tips for remaining emotionally balanced include:

  • Have an effective support system
  • Students should be taught to embrace the qualities that make them unique
  • Realize that no one is perfect
  • Students should accept themselves for who and what they are
  • Students should be taught appreciate the differences in others

Emotional stability can be difficult to achieve as a teenager. Accepting each other for who they are is an important part of making new friends and connecting with others who have different beliefs and lifestyles. Bullies often thrive on finding a person who doesn’t fit in to any one category and then, systematically harassing them until they are easily manipulated into what the bully wants them to be.

Parents and teachers who constantly strive to lift up their students can help to smooth out the rough edges of growing up through the teenage years. Allowing students to work through the problems they face and helping them to make necessary adjustments will enable them to grow into emotionally balanced and productive adults.

 

Common Sense Ways to Stay Safe at School

Staying safe at school doesn’t take an abundance of skill. It takes common sense and knowing the difference between right and wrong. Simple school safety tips that are taught when a person first enters kindergarten will carry them through the next 12 years without fail, if they just remember to think smart and take extra care not to take risks that could result in physical injury.

  • Walk, don’t run through halls
  • Never pick a fight with anyone who is bigger and has more physical strength
  • Don’t judge other students on their appearance or by the clothes they wear
  • Students should remember to treat others the way they want to be treated
  • Respect is earned, do something today to earn the respect of other students and faculty members
  • Respect other peoples’ property
  • Be honest
  • Be accountable for their own actions
  • Take responsibility
  • Give credit where it is due
  • Never underestimate the power of a smile

Being safe at school means keeping ones’ wits about them and facing challenges with grace and style. Sometimes things happen that are out of a student’s control. Knowing when to stand up and be accountable is part of the learning process. Taking on new responsibilities and being the best possible person is what growing up is all about.

For every school season there are numerous issues that need to be addressed. A back to school safety checklist should cover all areas where kids are exposed to danger. Before the school season starts, administrators, parents and teachers should use this checklist as their guidance for making sure the kids are out of harm’s way.

Back to School Safety on the Road

Whether kids walk, ride bicycles or drive cars to school, they should be taught general safety precautions.

  1. If your kid is riding a bike, make sure he/she is wearing the helmet. The helmet should be properly fitted and secured.
  2. Your child should be well aware of the rules of the road whether he/she is walking or driving.
  3. For those who take the big passengers bus, they have to follow the bus rules. These rules include: listening to what the bus driver tells you to do, standing six feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus, remaining in your seat for most of the ride, crossing the street ten feet away from the bus and making sure you see the bus driver and he/she sees you.
  4. If your child is walking, he/she should always walk on the sidewalk. The child should stop before crossing the street to look left and then right. The kid should always cross the street only at crosswalks and wait until traffic stops before crossing.
  5. Teen drivers should refrain from creating unsafe driving practices and must be fully aware of general driving rules and safety precautions like respecting posted speed limits and parking only in designated areas.

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Classroom Safety for the Students

The classroom is a great place to learn and be educated. However, with bullying issues on the rise, a lot of students consider classrooms prisons where they have to endure torture on the hands of bullies. Since students practically spend most of their time inside the classroom, rules need to be arranged for the kids to follow equally. Ensuring back to school safety, teachers should maintain the following in the classroom:

  1. Promote order and discipline.
  2. Students take turns when they want to talk or comment on the lesson. They shouldn’t speak before raising their hands first.
  3. Place a mirror next to the board so that when you turn your back to the kids you can still watch what they are doing.
  4. Encourage active participation and asking questions.
  5. Laugh with your students often and be close to their problems and learning struggles.

Playground Safety for Younger Kids

The playground is both a fun and dangerous place for kids. During back to school season, kids invade playgrounds, endangering themselves from playground related injuries which might lead to death in some cases. To guarantee your kids’ safety in playgrounds, you can start by following a simple set of rules:

  1. Be cautious around swings, seesaws and other equipment with moving parts.
  2. Be careful when your kids are running if they are playing tag or other physical games. Always supervise them from afar and ensure their safety as well as that of the other kids’.
  3. Remove any sharp objects, broken glass or twisted metal.
  4. Make sure that the ground is neither slippery or sticky so that kids won’t trip and fall.
  5. Teach your kids to act safely and responsibly while playing with friends.

Back to School Safety in the Hallway

Hallways are crowded places making them the perfect fight areas with chances of many kids getting hurt or ran over. However, by following a few simple rules while walking down the halls, kids won’t have to worry about school time spent out of the classroom.

  1. Ensure that all students maintain appropriate behaviour in the hallways or corridors. If a student gets caught bullying a colleague, the former should be punished as deemed fit.
  2. Students shouldn’t linger in the hallways or corridor for too long. Teachers must usher them into classes as soon as the break period ends.
  3. Students without a pass who are standing in the hallway during class time should be given a notice.
  4. The walls of the hallway should be covered with large, easy-to-read signs and posters directing students to major areas and their respective classes.
  5. Always keep classroom doors locked to avoid interruptions from the hallway or corridors

 

BULLYING

 

Parents and caring adults can play pivotal roles in creating a healthy school and community climate that is free of bullying. By working together, educators, parents, concerned citizens, business leaders, advocates, and community members can support the implementation of bullying prevention programs, reinforce bullying prevention messages, and advocate for bullying policies to be implemented. This collaboration is critical as bullying happens everywhere that young people gather, including online, via text, and in social networks. PTA® leaders and parents can play an important role in convening community conversations to build awareness of this as an important issue and to take action to stop bullying in your communities or schools.

 

Bullying is

  • Fighting, threatening, name-calling, teasing, or excluding someone repeatedly and over time
  • An imbalance of power, such as size or popularity
  • Physical, social, and emotional harm
  • Hurting another person to get something 

Many parents don't think that bullying is as big a problem as bringing a weapon to school or drug use but its effects can be severe and long lasting. Every day, nearly 160,000 children miss school because they are scared of bullying.. Bullying doesn't only negatively affect its victims, but also the bullies themselves.

 

Kids who are bullied are more likely to

  • Do poorly in school
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Be depressed
  • Turn to violent behavior to protect themselves or get revenge on their bullies

Kids who bully are more likely to

  • Do poorly in school
  • Smoke and drink alcohol
  • Commit crimes in the future

Parents can play a central role to preventing bullying and stopping it when it happens. Here are a few things you can do.

  • Teach kids to solve problems without using violence and praise them when they do.
  • Give children positive feedback when they behave well to help their build self-esteem. Help give them the self-confidence to stand up for what they believe in.
  • Ask your children about their day and listen to them talk about school, social events, their classmates, and any problems they have.
  • Take bullying seriously. Many kids are embarrassed to say they have been bullied. You may only have one chance to step in and help.
  • If you see any bullying, stop it right away, even if your child is the one doing the bullying.
  • Encourage your child to help others who need it.
  • Don't bully your children or bully others in front of them. Many times kids who are bullied at home react by bullying other kids. If your children see you hit, ridicule, or gossip about someone else, they are also more likely to do so themselves.
  • Support bully prevention programs in your child's school. If your school doesn't have one, consider starting one with other parents, teachers, and concerned adults.

Dealing With Bullies

Dealing with bullies is never an easy thing for students of any age. Remaining safe and keeping a good head on their shoulders can be difficult if a bully is constantly trying to wear them down or make them feel badly about themselves. Understanding how to effectively handle a situation when one is being bullied takes common sense and the ability to overcome obstacles.

A few safety tips that can help a student when confronted by a bully include:

  • Never confront a bully alone
  • If a bully threatens a student with violence, tell a teacher or person of authority immediately
  • Never accept an invitation to fight
  • If a bully tries to get a student to do something that is dangerous, the student should walk away and report the incident to a teacher
  • If a student is being bullied on a regular basis, they should always try to travel with a friend
  • Maintain a safe distance from individuals that are known to cause fights or instigate physical confrontations
  • Students should always make sure an adult knows where they are going and what time they will be arriving
  • Never talk to strangers while on the internet
  • Never give out an email address or any other type of contact information to strangers

Cyberbullying and bullying in schools are being reported much more often now than just a few years ago. Parents should closely monitor their students internet activities as well as keep a close watch over who their children are friends with. Make sure to know who their friends are and where they live. Parents should make an attempt to at least meet the parents of the children their kids spend time with. Bullying takes many forms and making sure students are prepared for whatever comes at them is an important part of protecting them as they enter high school.