At Russellville Junior/Senior High School, the week of August 15-19, 2016, was declared School Safety Week and provided a student-centered instructional approach to school safety through a series of advisory sessions that addressed modern challenges for students, staff, faculty, and families.
Through a positive, proactive approach, the purpose was to seek, to accomplish, to cultivate, and maintain a safe and civil environment by which students may learn and grow. A plan was devised and put into place with the promotion of activities, advisory sessions, input from stakeholders via surveys, and a formal school safety audit.
Advisory topics consisted of one per day: Monday: A Safe & Civil Environment; Tuesday: Bullying; Wednesday: Bullying; Thursday: Internet Safety; and Friday: Surveys. On Monday, a “Safe and Civil Environment”, began with a video link, with guidelines for success being developed by students and approved by teachers and parents!
Common areas and school policies were selected areas of focus such as dress code, cell phones, ear buds, and a being-on-time policy. Discussion was also on building security, lockdown procedures, and a parent survey reward system. The areas of focus were identified by teachers AND students. Day two consisted of defining and identifying bullying with assistance from planned activities and video scenes. Day three there was the discussion of cyberbullying.
The conclusion to the lessons was to suggest that the most important way to deal with the impulse to participate in online cruelty is to reflect on the kind of person we want to be and the personal values that guide our behavior toward others. Students were asked to think of one statement that reflects their values regarding conduct toward others online and to silently reflect and come up with their statements.
Some statement examples were: always use respectful language, protect your own and others’ safety, value all people and never ridicule others, respect privacy and avoid gossip/rumors, include others in online communities, and remember a person with feelings is on the other end of every click. They introduced the “Pause before you Post” suggestion of 4 questions: Who will be able to see what I post? Will anyone be embarrassed or hurt by it? Am I proud of what I am posting? How would I feel if someone posted this about me? The final day was one of distributing, monitoring, and collecting surveys.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, a lock down drill was held and Assistant Principal, Brandon Blake, stated overall, that was the best lock down drill he has witnessed. He was pleased with the implementation of this safety emphasis week and has already witnessed positive results.