Many school districts I’ve encountered have a problem. Here’s the problem, and here’s how to fix it if it’s happening to you.
- The administration, school staff members, parents, or school board members worry that they have a safety problem. They hope the problem will go away. They believe their district really isn’t at high risk for safety problems, anyway. Since these beliefs are not strategies and don’t actually change anything, the problem persists.
- Next, instead of getting expert help, they do some research on their problem. They look online for answers, even though they aren’t entirely sure what they should be looking for. They ask colleagues and contacts for advice, even though these people lack the expertise they need. They piece together a few safety components and create a plan. Now, they have a plan, but it’s accompanied by a nagging worry about whether it’s a truly comprehensive plan.
- Their problem then gets progressively worse. The school district now has the equivalent of a severe health problem that was ignored in the early stages and has worsened, demanding immediate action.
If we had a serious health problem, would we continue to ignore it while it got worse? We need to view school safety as the equivalent of that serious health problem.
Here’s how to fix it:
- The first step is accepting that there’s a problem and that it won’t just disappear. Burying our heads in the sand does nothing to help the situation. In fact, it actually makes things worse.
- The next step is to get the expert help we need. We’ll want to to find someone who understands the specific safety challenges we’re facing, and has experience fixing them. If we can find someone who has worked in, and understands, school dynamics and challenges, that’s even better.
- Next, we need to eliminate obstacles. Often, the biggest barrier to increasing our school’s safety is concern about funding. Schools are juggling many mandates and requirements with ever-shrinking budgets. However, we always seem to find the money for the really important things. It’s a matter of mindset. We need to make school safety a priority.
- Finally, we simply need to start. Implementing the steps above will get us going in the right direction, and help us resolve our school safety problem.
If you still aren’t sure where to start and want to bounce a few ideas around, I’m happy to have a chat with you. Simply contact me here with your questions.
If you’d like to explore both on-site and online safety training options, read this.