The safety of students and staff at school, and traveling to and from school, is of paramount concern. PTAs have a responsibility to identify and promote awareness of safety problems in the school community and, in collaboration with others, to help develop solutions.
Safety is a growing concern for the public. Preparedness for emergencies and disasters, as well as the prevention of unintentional injuries (accidents), is a serious concern of those who care for children in the home, at school, and in the community.
Activities to promote safety are closely related to and can be incorporated in all PTA interests.
What To Do
- Have president appoint a safety committee.
- Encourage participation in the annual creation and/or review of the school’s Safety and Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Plans and share the plans with the membership and the community. Involve students in this process where appropriate.
- Create a travel safety plan that includes drop-off instructions for buses and private vehicles as well as safe access for students walking or bicycling to school. Review and update the plan annually, involving students and parents. Include this information in registration packets, websites and fliers. Work with local government as needed to address access problems.
- Become familiar with PTA publications that may be free or available for purchase from the California State PTA office. For California State PTA position statements and resolutions, refer to the California State PTA Toolkit. (All are obtainable from unit, council or district PTA presidents, service mailing CD; capta.org)
- Contact the council and/or district PTA for additional information.
- Establish an ongoing working relationship with the school district and safety agencies within the community (i.e., local branches of the National Safe Kids Coalition and the National Safe Routes to School Partnership, local law enforcement and government agencies). Attend safety workshops/conferences and clinics.
- Research the facts on safety problems and regulations in the school and community. Interview school officials, student leaders, local police and fire officials, health departments, safety councils, automobile clubs, medical societies and others.
- Determine what safety instruction is included in the school curriculum, K-12, and adult education programs.
- Become familiar with the school district’s and school site’s state-mandated disaster preparedness program. Is it up-to-date, adequate and enforced?
- Cooperate with school authorities to inform the public of these programs.
- Suggest a neighborhood survey to discover environmental and toxic substance hazards and follow up with proper authorities for correction and implementation of safety programs.
- Cooperate with PTA program chairman to plan a safety program for at least one PTA meeting during the year. Secure guest speakers from community safety agencies. Make announcements and arrange displays, exhibits and posters at meetings.
- Sponsor parent education safety awareness programs.
- Keep informed about all safety legislation in local, state and federal government. Study measures regulating schools and residential areas.
- Share all information with unit, council, district PTA and California State PTA.
Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide (English and Spanish), mailed annually to PTA presidents
California Safe Kids Coalition; 2315 Stockton Blvd., Room 4302, Sacramento, CA 95817; (www.usa.safekids.org)
National Safety Council; 421 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; (www.nsc.org)
Bicycle Institute of America; 122 East 42nd St., New York, NY 10017
Insurance Information Institute; 110 William St., New York, NY 10038; (www.iii.org)
National Education Association; 1201 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; (www.nea.org)
Safe Routes to School National Partnership; (http://www.saferoutespartnership.org/)
Automobile Club of Southern California; 2601 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90007; (www.aaa-calif.com)
California State Automobile Association; 150 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102 (www.csaa.com)
Listings for first aid and/or survival guide provided in local telephone directories
American Red Cross (www.redcross.org); (www.prepare.org) (www.redcross.org/services/prepare/0,1082,0_239_,00.html)
California Department of Education, Education Codes (www.cde.ca.gov)
County Disaster Plan
Federal Emergency Management Agency (www.fema.gov)
Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Sacramento (www.oes.ca.gov)
School District Disaster Plan
School Disaster Plan
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (www.ready.gov)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Links for Citizens
Life Secure Emergency Solutions (www.lifesecure.com)