Student Safety: It Takes a Village

Who is ultimately responsible for the safety of K-12 students, school districts or parents and guardians?

When confronted with issues of student safety, the natural human response often consists of projecting blame upon others. “Others” might be culpable, but a better response begins with an assessment of one’s own responsibility.

It’s perfectly understandable for schools and districts to shift the blame on parents and guardians. The latter represent a more primordial foundation for students. Before they’re students, they’re children. They arrive at school for the first time already have a predisposition to behave in a certain way.

Simultaneously, however, it is perfectly understandable for parents and guardians to shift the blame to schools, which should be designed to create positive conditions for learning and reduce the possibility of distractions, behavioral issues and risks to student safety.

For this reason, it is compelling that both schools districts and parents/guardians are ultimately responsible for the safety, education and edification of students. It takes a village to prepare students for adulthood, and we should all be prepared to take on our role, whether as individuals or institutions.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that experts are increasingly adopting communal models for goals centered around student safety and achievement. Together with her son, Dr. Marialice Curran has championed a community-driven approach to educating and empowering digital citizens to create solutions in local, global and digital communities. She recently participated in the Symposium on Student Safety in West Hartford, CT.

Likewise, Michele Gay of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative has, as part of her mission, to provide school communities with a platform for building local and national partnerships between parents, educators, students, first responders, mental health professionals and community members to maintain safe and secure schools.

Symposiums feature experts like these and others who help bring a wider perspective to issues around student safety. If you’re interested in how you or your institution can strengthen digital citizenship and foster a positive school climate, be sure to register for a Safety Symposium near you.