MIAMI – As the first bell of the new school year approaches, it’s important for parents to speak with their children about school safety.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide 2019 youth risk survey of 13,677 students, one in five high school students reported being bullied on school property. Eight percent said they had been involved in a physical fight and seven percent said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon.
Almost nine percent said they had not gone to school at least one day because they did not feel safe at school, or going to and from campus.
Dr. Guerda Nicolas, a child and family psychologist with the University of Miami, said says the discussion about safety should center around inclusion.
“The conversations around anxiety, around safety, may be very different. For example, a parent may be talking with them about how they deal with gun issues in schools or violence in the school system. How do you deal with issues of racism and how do you deal with if it feels like someone is not treating you well because of who you are, because of your background, or your language, or accent. Then maybe those conversations where parents are engaging with their kids around which is less so for other parents who may not have the privilege of engaging in conversations relating to gun issues, relating to racism issues, relating to immigration status issues, and so forth and so on,” she said.
With an uptick in social media threats toward schools, it is very important for students to know that if they see something suspicious they need to say something. Both Miami-Dade and Broward schools have trained resource officers, teachers, counselors, and administrators to address these concerns and forward them to law enforcement. However, if it is an emergency, call 911 immediately.