Ask Reading Kingdom: School safety has become a huge concern. What are the best ways to discuss these issues with your child?

Given the enormous media attention to
the horrendous school killings that have occurred around the nation, it is not
surprising to find that children are on guard and nervous. But it’s vital that
parents and school personnel try to help children gain a perspective. Research
has shown that schools are safer than they were 
in the 90’s and school shootings are less common than they used to be.

That is occurring even though our
nation will not consider the kinds of actions that Australia took after a mass
shooting at Port Arthur in 1996 where one gunman murdered 36 people.  Within  weeks of that
tragedy, Australia banned
semi-automatic and other military-style weapons
the country. In addition, a wide range of actions were undertaken that involved
a generous nationwide gun buyback program.  As of this date, there has not been another
mass killing in Australia. Not one in the past 22 years.

Simon Chapman, an emeritus professor in public
health at the University of Sydney, has made available a free book describing
the process.

So real
solutions are possible, but none of them is being seriously considered in our

At the same
time, kids are scared because of the media hype. So, it is important to ease
their anxiety and to this end, it can be useful to

  1. Encourage
    children to talk about their concerns and to
    express their feelings … while
    making sure they do not get caught up with exaggerations that fuel the fires of
  2. Talk
    honestly about your own feelings
    regarding school violence.. while
    offering some of the evidence that shows the actual figures that do not
    indicate an escalation
  3. Empower
    children to take action
    regarding school safety… by
    becoming more active participants in relevant activities taking place in the
  4. Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school.. and discuss how

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