School shootings are in the headlines far too often, causing us to worry that our child’s school might be the next one. Accompanying that worry is often a feeling of not knowing how to change anything to make your child’s school safer and perhaps the thought that it would never happen here.
That was Alissa Parker’s thought as she noted flaws in the security system at her child’s school when she attended a parent-teacher conference and shared them with her husband. Two months later, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary would claim the life of her daughter, Emilie.
Alissa Parker joined with fellow Sandy Hook mom Michelle Gay in founding Safe and Sound Schools, an organization dedicated to supporting school crisis prevention, response, and recovery. Since then, they have shared their story around the country, including at last year’s National PTA Legislative Conference.
Now National PTA is partnering with Safe and Sound Schools to launch the Parents for Safe Schools program. The program is designed to help families become educated and advocate for school safety. The program includes:
- Resources to educate families on all aspects of school safety, including mental and behavioral health; health and wellness; physical environment; school law, policy, and finance; culture, climate, and community; and operations and emergency management.
- Information on how to talk to your child about school safety.
- A safety toolkit to facilitate conversations, problem-solving, and building partnerships in your school community around school safety.
- A guide on how to start the safety conversation with your school leaders.
- A comprehensive guide to the Parents for Safe Schools program with detailed resources to help you plan your advocacy. The guide covers creating a safety team, holding a safety fair, hosting a parent night, keeping the conversation over the summer, discussing safety beyond the school, and much more.
School safety is the responsibility of every member of your school community. The Parents for Safe Schoolsprogram provides the tools your PTA needs to engage your school community in advocating for safer schools. As the headlines continually remind us, it can happen here.