I feel strongly that every parent with a child in school should be familiar with that school's safety plans. The likelihood of a tragedy like the one in Newtown occurring here is very low, but that doesn't negate the importance of having strong plans in place, ranging from earthquakes to robberies. As I've discussed before, bullying is a severe impediment to a child's sense of safety and well-being at school. If children aren't safe, they can't learn, excel and reach their full potential.
If you have a child in school, I encourage you to:
- Read the school's safety policy (If this isn't available online or a handbook, call the principal and/or the president of the PTA).
- Connect with the school's principal and head of the safety committee with any questions or suggestions you may have.
- Get involved! Join the PTA or safety committee and let your voice be heard.
You can find the Berkeley High Safety Plan for 2012-13 online, which includes the goals and strategies. Below I've pulled out the goals:
Goal #1-- Highest priority: Reduce Robberies and Thefts. Communicate with BHS community regarding crime and other incidents affecting the school community.
Goal #2-- Highest priority: Raise staff, student, and public awareness of bullying and harassment issues, and clarify and communicate district and school policies for bullying and harassment
Goal #3-- Highest priority: Train Berkeley High Administration, staff and students in the emergency/disaster plan
Goal #4: Reduce alcohol and marijuana use as reflected in California Healthy Kids Survey data
Goal #5: Help provide a safe and secure learning environment by ensuring there is effective and appropriate communication and information flow among BHS security, BHS staff, BHS teachers, Berkeley Student Services, and courts, juvenile justice agencies, police, district attorneys, community-based organizations, and parents consistent with California law.
Goal #6: Strengthen the relationship between the BHS community and the surrounding Berkeley community, focused on fostering a clean, safe and healthy environment. Address concerns raised by the community.
Goal #7: Strengthen the Safety Committee as an effective, transparent, and visible institution at BHS, including increasing student and teacher participation
For more information:
- BHS had a practice lock-down yesterday (which was planned prior to the tragedy in Newtown), as reported by Berkeleyside
- The BHS Jacket also reported on Safety Committee Improves BHS on November 16, 2012.