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OT - Talking to kids about safety at school

Forum: 2013 Playroom


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December 18th, 2012, 08:52 AM
lovelyenchanted's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 781
This may just sound like rambling, and I'm sorry... but in a sense I'm still a FTM as I come to each age category... so I don't know how to handle everything as it comes. So, I'm just going to throw my thoughts out there and see if anyone has any advice.

So, we talked to Payge briefly over the weekend about safety at school and what to do if "a bad person came into school." She doesn't fully understand; she's got the pure mind of a six year old, and I want to keep it that way... but I want her to be aware of being safety conscious as well.

I know they do lock down drills, she told me so. I asked her their procedure and she said "We turn off the lights, be quiet, and the teacher covers the windows and door with this piece of some paper." I asked her where they hide in the classroom or if there IS anywhere to hide and her response was "No... we just sit at our desk." What's the point of lock down if you're just going to be targets in a dark room? They have a small bathroom in their classroom, so I told her to run and hide in there if something ever happened... She said they wouldn't all fit, but I told her that they should all squuuuueeze in. "Hug your friends close and hide!" I told her.

Then I asked her, "Well, what would you do if you were out in the hall and there was a lock down?" She said if that happened, she would be locked out. I had to explain to her that she should go to the nearest classroom or the office (whichever was closer) and hide there. It made me sad that she thought she would be locked out. And I HOPE the school and teachers would ensure no child was in the hall before they locked down. Then I told her if she were in a public restroom, she needed to scream to alert someone she was in there before they "locked her out", but again, I would HOPE an adult would check the bathrooms.

Also, after Friday, a lot of schools had police presence this week. Ours obviously do not. I read an article in the paper today that the superintendent doesn't think it's needed as the schools' doors are locked. (Well, I hate to tell you buddy, but so were theirs.) I called the school yesterday to ask, and thier "increased security" was having the gym teacher sit in the lobby... Anyway, I asked DD if here were police there yesterday and she said "No... but there weren't any bad people." I don't want her to think bad people coming in is an immediate danger. I don't want her to become afraid of school... she loves school, is a social butterfly, and thrives there. I just want her to be aware... but how can I acheive that in a 6 year old?

I mean... all I can do is hope and pray nothing ever happens. I tried talking to DF about it last night, but he doesn't have a whole lot to say. He told me he worries about her too, but going to school is something she must do, so there's not a ton we can do. He emphasized that we live in a safe place (as did the victims in CT) and that we just have to hope nothing will happen.

I don't want to become obsessed with worrying about school safety. I know tragedies happen all over. I think this is a particularly bad time of year for them... More people are stressed, want to provide for their families at the holidays (maybe they've lost jobs) and can't, etc. I think mental illness tends to "break" in some people around holiday time.

Anyhow... any other suggestions? I don't know if there's anything else I can tell her. I don't want to keep pounding it into her head. I planted the seed, and hope she'll be able to use her safety measures if there ever is a true emergency.

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December 18th, 2012, 09:50 AM
kbpeanut's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: north county san diego, ca
Posts: 13,284
I really don't have any specific advice to share, but I love how you approached the talk with DD. It not only allowed you to share some information with her on what to do in certain situations, but also allowed you to learn what actually goes on in her school.

I know I have friends who have been doing various types of communication with their schools and communities - from writing letters, to starting petitions.

But, at the end of the day, a school is only going to do so much, and you don't want to "have" to count on the school. So, spending the time to teach DD things about what to do when different types of things happen is great. Also, understanding how you don't want to have to spend day after day talking her through every possible bad scenario, I think doing it randomly and in a "lighthearted" way (i.e. "what if a bad person came to school?" vs "what would you do if a guy bust in and started shooting") is a really good approach. Knowledge is power, and the more you can impart on her now, the better.


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