Back to school: How to talk to your kids about safety and security

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - The buses are loaded, backpacks packed, and school is ready to go back into session.

But as kids head back to the classroom, learning isn’t the only thing on the minds of schools, families, and students.

“Our goal every day is to make sure our kids and faculty are safe,” said Wester.

Sherman ISD hopes as it goes into its second year with its police department, students won’t have to carry anxiety about their safety into the classroom, especially after the district saw three gun-related incidents last school year.

“Being more proactive, being in the schools, we built those relationships last year when we had the program, so I think those relationship buildings are going to help us go into this year and just being out there in the hallways, in the parking lots and talking with the kids, I hope it is going to help limit the incidents we have this year,” said Sherman ISD Police Chief Heath Wester.

Safety is also on the minds of parents as they drop their kids off just months after the last school year ended in tragedy, several hundred miles away in Uvalde.

“As a parent, it was heartbreaking,” said Tiffany Dancer, the clinical director of the Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma.

She said whether you decide to talk to your kids about school security or not depends on the kid.

“I think if you notice that our kid is anxious about it and going back, you need to listen and kind of feel out if it’s something they want to talk about,” said Dancer.

If you decide to have the conversation, she said to keep it age-appropriate.

“Remember that teenagers are going to have a drastically different view of this than what kindergartners and first graders are going to,” said Dancer.

Dancer added to go over school safety plans with your student like how Sherman practices its emergency drills at the beginning of the year.

“They’re all uniform so everything is the same from kindergarten through high school,” said Wester.

Dancer said you can also help your student identify a safe adult at school, like a counselor or teacher.

And if you’re the adult trying to navigate this hard conversation she said to check in with yourself too.

“Our kids feed off of us,” said Dancer. “If they sense that we are anxious about something, it is more likely going to make them anxious.”

Kids, she added, should only have to worry about keeping up with class work.

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