Since the most recent tragic events involving school violence and shootings, there have been several rallies, protests, etc. calling for our legislative leaders to take action. There is no doubt that work can and should be done at the federal and state levels to reduce the opportunity for violence in our schools. Nevertheless, we cannot and should not depend on new legislation to completely solve the issue. We must look within to assure that we are doing everything we can to contribute to a safe environment for our children, for our students. As Superintendent, I reaffirm the Pendleton School District’s commitment and role in this endeavor. However, we cannot do it alone; equally important is the role of our parents. I would like to reinforce and encourage all of us, together, to maintain our vigilance in ensuring that our schools are safe places for all. Last month I shared a number of the things that the school district does routinely to foster a safe and civil environment. Here are a few things that parents can do to assist us:
- Talk to your children: provide a safe environment for children to ask questions and openly express their worries and concerns.
- Recognize the warning signs: even small changes in behavior (moodiness, changes in sleep, antisocial behavior, changes in school performance) can give you an early warning that something is troubling your child.
- Know when to intervene: if you see children exhibiting behavior or attitudes that could potentially harm themselves or others, talk to their parents or, if it is your child, do something to stop it. If you are unable to have those conversations, report these behaviors to a school staff member or law enforcement.
- Monitor social media accounts: parents and friends on a regular basis should monitor these. Please report immediately any warning signs to family members, school officials or law enforcement. If you do not feel comfortable reporting directly, you can report concerns to SafeOregon at www.safeoregon.com
- Stay involved: be aware of your child’s school workloads and grades, and get to know their friends.
- Limit your child’s exposure to media violence including violent games, especially for younger children.
School staff are available at all of our buildings if your child is feeling anxious, sad or worried about being safe at school. Please contact your school office if you feel your child needs some additional support. Together we can create a safe learning environment where every student is safe and can thrive. Every student, every day!