Keeping the School Environment Healthy & Safe
NEA ESP members have developed ideas for working with teachers and administrators to create a safe and healthy school environment for students and staff:
Encourage Students to Succeed:
- Greet everyone with a smile.
- Give students positive reinforcement.
- Communicate with “at-risk” students.
- Mentor a student in reading or writing.
- Be observant, listen carefully.
- Make a concerted effort to reach out to students who are shy or troubled. Compliment them and acknowledge them whenever you can.
- Encourage children to share their problems; find help or counseling, if necessary.
- Provide a role model – lifestyle, values, attitude, hobbies, interests.
- Ask students about their grades and if they need help.
- Eat lunch with a group of students.
- Set aside time daily to read with a student.
Protect Students & Bus Drivers
- Inspect the bus for safety and cleanliness before each trip. Check after each trip to make sure no student is left on the bus.
- Participate in bus safety classes for drivers.
- Use two-way radios to communicate with other drivers and dispatchers.
- Perform evacuation drills.
- Service buses regularly.
- Assign seats to prevent trouble.
- Present a safety program to new kindergarten students each school year and make sure older students know the rules up front.
- Listen to conversations to pick up potential problems.
Keep Buildings and Groups Safe and Secure
- Check the building before opening and at the end of the workday.
- Require sign-in sheets and visitors’ badges.
- Send students on errands in pairs.
- Keep emergency cards on file for every student. Don’t let a student leave with anyone not listed on his/her emergency card.
- Send a handbook home with each student explaining safety rules and procedures.
- Ask neighbors to call the school whenever they observe anything suspicious.
- Keep shrubs and bushes cut back.
Prepare for Emergencies
- Practice fire drills every month.
- Train crisis intervention teams to react to emergencies.
- Prepare course of action guidelines and evacuation plan for bomb threats, earthquakes, and other school crises.
- Have a code phrase that means “Get all the students out of the halls and into a room until the ‘all clear’ code is given.”
- Don’t disregard any threats made by students.
Guard Against Drugs, Weapons
- Know and enforce school board policies about weapons, drugs, alcohol, fighting, tobacco and inappropriate language and dress.
- Keep equipment in repair to avoid accidents.
- Use safety belts for lifting.
- If you work with food, wash hands, wear gloves; sanitize tables and food equipment after meals.