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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Prevention: Keeping our Kids Safe

There was a lot of sadness in the news today, sadness related to a car crash were a number of teens died and sadness related to the Santa Fe school shooting.

As educators we see sadness often as our students bring to us stories and experiences of family strife, significant losses, and other hardships. There are some losses that are unpreventable and some losses simply happen no matter how hard we work to prevent those hardships and loss, but there are many hardships we can work to prevent in schools and in our homes.

See Something Say Something
The brave parents from Sandy Hook have told us that most mass shooting and violence is preventable because mostly shooters and others who commit violent acts typically demonstrate signs that they will hurt themselves or others, and that's why we have to continually promote communities and individuals that speak up if they see signs of potential violence or harm.

Care for People Above Priorities
We have to see the person first--we have to care for people before we consider priorities. That means when a child is suffering at school or at home, we have to care for that child rather than concern ourself initially with the facts surrounding the pain and hurt. What can we do to help the child? This is not always easy because our children can frustrate us when they seem slow to learn a lesson or change a volatile or challenging behavior, but we have to remain patient and kind as we help the child first and then work to remedy the other factors related to the situation. We have to continually speak of the promise ahead and the ways that our children at home and at school can meet that promise through their words, actions, advocacy, calls for help, and more.

Teach Safe Behavior
We have to make safety explicit by sharing stories of danger regularly with our children at home and at school. We have to preach safe driving, safe choices, safe sex, safe relationships, and care for one another. We have to use the stories of life, stories we see on the news and read in the newspapers, to teach children about how to act. We also have to share the statistics related to safety. For our children, the following lessons have to be continually reviewed:

  • Look drivers in the eye before crossing the street--today most drivers are distracted and that's why so many people are being hit by cars.
  • Drug dealers want to get them addicted and that's why the drugs on the street are cheap to buy--even one $5 hit of a drug can create an addiction--don't be fooled by greedy, lawless, self-serving drug dealers, don't take drugs.
  • Don't play with matches--so many fires are simply started by playing with matches. 
  • Don't play w/guns and if you see a gun, get away and tell a trusting adult. 
  • You can always say you're sick and leave a situation that challenges your safety.
  • Don't trust strangers online or off--many times predators online pretend to be young children, and trick children into doing or saying things that are problematic.
  • There's safety in numbers.
  • Don't drive drunk--there's always Uber or calling a parent or friend to help if you need it.
  • Drinking underage is not worth the risk or trouble--you can lose scholarships, privileges, and your own good health and opportunity.
  • Make healthy choices--healthy choices for your body, mind, and future. Smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, drinking soda and more unhealthy choices end up costing lots of money and creating health care issues. Start with good habits for long term wellness.
  • Hang out with good people--don't spend time with trouble makers as that leads you in the wrong direction. 
There are so many more healthy ways to prevent trouble, and as educators and parents we have to continually work to make life better for our children at school and at home with prevention.