Perspectives From the Classroom: School Lockdowns – What to Ask to Protect Your Child
By Matt Barringer // March 18, 2019
YOUR VIEW • YOUR OPINION
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – With the tragedy of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas just over a year old, parents and schools alike now contend with the reality of active shooter’s in schools and those who seek to do harm.
What has changed to address this challenge are schools approaches in identifying threats, maintaining a proactive and rapid response to threats, and responsive communication to the community and families potentially impacted.
The next step for any parent seeking to keep their child safe is to have a very difficult conversation with their child that starts with, “What would you do?”
The answer will be very different between an elementary student and high school student and will be surprising to many parents.
More importantly, answers children give may surprise parents as they will change, not only from year to year but day by day, class period by class period, and may even be based on what teacher, class or students a child is with at the time a school lockdown is implemented.
Older children might express feelings of wanting to try to take on an attacker entering a classroom or may show concern for taking directions from an adult or teacher who may be just as terrified. In either scenario, a child needs their parent’s wisdom.
As the saying goes, “it’s not if, it’s when,” and if your teen is on social media, they will receive something they should report about threats. The question is, will they?
As a parent, ask your teen, “What do you do when you see a photo that looks like someone might get hurt at your school?”
When they respond with, “I’ll tell someone,” your next question is, “How will you tell them?”
Given a chance, teens often welcome helping others when they have had a chance to practice or talk it through. As a parent, it is time to lead the conversation at home that will keep your child safe during the inevitable next school lockdown.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Making his home in North Brevard, Matt Barringer has helped with social issues including education, homelessness, hospice and end of life – as well as the revitalization of North Brevard while serving as Vice Mayor for the City of Titusville. He currently serves as a teacher for Brevard Public Schools and specializes in social studies as well as special education. Additionally, Barringer has been an entrepreneur in multiple businesses throughout Brevard County. He is inspired daily by his wife, the former Heather Martine, and their five children.
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