Worthington school safety a complex issue
WORTHINGTON -- Worthington schools continue to look at ways to ensure and create safe environments in our schools. The administration of all buildings in ISD 518 constantly analyze and view what we are currently doing to alleviate violence and ag...
WORTHINGTON -- Worthington schools continue to look at ways to ensure and create safe environments in our schools. The administration of all buildings in ISD 518 constantly analyze and view what we are currently doing to alleviate violence and aggression among all students. The district has many policies in place that try to detour kids in making poor decisions at school. Students that travel down the path of school violence risk the personal indiscretions of the community and risk forfeiting their opportunities to receive awards/recognitions, organizational membership and/or represent our schools in public events.
The constant changing of our school's climate has created an imperative need for schools to identify tools, strategies, and model programs that enhance the safety and success of all children and the professionals who serve them. Because young people are legally required to attend school on a daily basis, school personnel have a corresponding duty to provide children with a safe, secure, and well- maintained environment that promotes learning for all students regardless of age, race or gender. Achieving these goals requires that every school district and each individual school develop a school safety plan. Development of such plans is not limited to the school alone but involves the entire community.
It is no accident that schools continue to experience the greatest numbers of students coming from broken homes. Academic pressures and societal pressures in communities also contribute to these negative characteristics. To offset these tendencies, the creation of safe schools must involve students, teachers, administrators, parents, law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, business and community leaders, and a wide array of youth-serving professionals in the community. The involvement of expertise and support from a variety of resources is essential, because schools have been organized for the purpose of learning rather than as institutions designed to control crime and violence.
Worthington District 518 continues to look at ways to encompass programs that provide for the safety and security of students and educators. In the fall of 2005-06 the district sent representatives to a School Safety Conference, set up individual and school district crisis teams, adopted procedures for emergency evacuation and crisis management, while reviewing policies that look at discipline, harassment, and bullying etc. Other safety programs that continue to play an important part in the district are SADD and DARE student groups, tornado, fire and lockdown drills, and cameras near main entrances in heavy traffic areas. It is an ongoing comprehensive process that addresses both short-term and long-term safety measures to detour violent attitudes and behaviors in the school.
All schools should move toward a basic goal: to create and maintain a positive and welcoming school climate in which all members take pride and ownership. This climate is free of drugs, gangs, violence, intimidation, fear and shaming. A healthy, positive school climate promotes the emotional well-being and growth of every student, while providing a safe, secure environment that does not condone violence in any form. At the same time, however, the school provides firm and consistent rules and guidelines for appropriate student behavior.
Paul Karelis is assistant principal at Worthington High School.