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School Safety – It’s a Big Deal!
With school safety on everyone’s mind, RMES parents want to know, “What is RMES doing about school safety?” The answer is a quite a lot. Our first priority is to make sure that only those who should be in the building get into the building. Every RMES staff member is charged with making sure that the doors remain locked. As you know, when you come to RMES during the school day, the front door is the only entrance. The door has to be unlocked by someone in the office. Then you check in at the front desk and get a visitor’s badge. This helps us to know that you have checked in and are authorized to be in our building. Please understand that with some 200 families with assorted grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, it is impossible for us to know each person who has a valid reason to enter our building. Please don’t be offended when we ask for an ID or ask why you may want to come into our building. If RMES staff has a concern about anyone who wishes to enter the school, the person will not be allowed to enter and Campus Safety or 911 will be called.
Our dismissal procedure is designed to enhance our students’ safety. We do not call students’ names over the radios. If we called names over the air, anyone with a receiver, that can tune the radio bands we use, could hear names of our students. Anyone who does not know their traffic number or have a blue RMES traffic card is asked to park and go into the building to check the child out with the teacher. Of course we need to have an up-to-date list of those who are authorized to pick up your children.
We regularly participate with the Campus Safety and Berrien County officials in fire drills, lockdown drills, and tornado drills. These drills are extremely important so that, in an actual emergency situation, making the right moves is automatic. Our teachers and students do a very good job in these drills and the officials involved are uniformly happy with both the behavior and the time it takes for the drills to be accomplished. After each drill there is a debriefing with the school’s administration and the authorities involved to make our drills even more effective.
Ruth Murdoch Elementary School has a Safety Committee that will be meeting periodically this year to make recommendations both for immediate and long-range plans to make RMES even safer. We want to make RMES as safe as we possibly can. One of the challenges is that it is always possible to make a facility safer by adding extra layers of security. With each layer, however, it becomes more difficult for parents and students to go where they need to go. The difficult task is to balance safety with common sense and convenience.
If you have concerns about safety at RMES please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269.471.3225. My door is always open.
It is summer time and students can lose up to a month of learning unless they keep their minds active over the summer months. That doesn't mean that they do not need to have fun and get away from the classroom grind. The National Association of Elementary School Principals in their "Report to Parents" has some excellent suggestions. Here they are http://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/RtP_SummerLearning_0.pdf
Parents, have you looked at your child’s cell phone recently? Parents, who have reviewed their children’s texting, have sometimes been shocked by what they have found. Cellphones offer great convenience and the ability to keep in touch instantly. We can’t do without them, but our children need guidance from caring parents to make sure that they understand what is appropriate to share with others, and what is not. Won’t you take the time this week to make sure your child is being smart and safe in their cell phone use? The Missouri Department of Social Service has put together an excellent PowerPoint on “Kids and Cell Phone Safety.” www.dss.mo.gov/stat/statpres/kidsandcellphone.ppt
Cyberbullying, identity theft, spam, and cyberstalking are all terms, that just a few years ago, wouldn’t have meant anything to most us. Today internet safety needs to be a priority for all of us. Elvin Gonzalez, one of our parents, sent me this web address on Internet safety. http://www.wiredsafety.org/ It provides a number of resources to help us keep web safe. Thanks, Mr. Gonzalez, for sharing with us.