Parent-Staffed Safety Committees in Schools - FamilyEducation

Expert Advice

Parent-Staffed Safety Committees in Schools

Family Safety Expert Advice from Gavin de Becker

Q
Do you know of any schools nationwide that have instituted a parent-staffed safety committee?
A
I don't know of any but I enthusiastically endorse this concept. A parent committee can assist the school in deciding how to respond to a given threat, as well as when to notify other parents.

In doing so, the committee can lift a huge burden from the principal. There is a precedent for bringing members of a community together to help with high-stakes decisions: a jury.

Members of a parent committee can be appointed by the school board or by an elected official. They can be chosen for their level-headedness, high regard in the community, even for their political connections -- it really doesn't matter.

The important qualification for each member is to be a parent of a student at the school. The committee can convene whenever a case meets some predetermined criteria. That may happen a few times a year, or it may never happen, but parents will get a great deal of comfort knowing they are represented in the process.

Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the leading U.S. expert on the prediction and management of violence. His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.

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