3B Convo: Brains, Bullies, Bullets

In most areas school has started or will be starting soon. I know most parents are rejoicing, maybe a few tears, but mostly excitement. I know I’m excited. The school routine not only helps me build productive, educated, functioning, great individuals, but it also helps keep my house clean, cut down on laundry, cuts my bills (grocery and electric), I’m grateful for the school routine. As I sat with a slight glow and giggle awaiting the first day of school, a slow dark cloud crept in. This summer was really emotional. I had to talk to my children several times about police brutality, gun violence, having street smarts and book smarts (there’s a difference people). Now in all my excitement I’m about to send them off to a place where I would pray they don’t have to deal with this, but let’s face it, that’s not the world we live in. So, it’s time once again to have some heart to hearts with my kids.
Every year starts out the same. Good grades, focused, ready and eager to learn, kids are ready to conquer the world in the beginning. About half way through the semester a little minion creeps in and steals some brain cells. Kids seem to lose focus, grades slip, and calls are made home to help intervene. This year this battle ends. Parents we have to be consistent. We start the school year out the same way, eager to be a part of the PTA, meeting and greeting with the teachers and other parents, then something happens and we lose interest. I know that our kids are the ones in school and if you’re like me you have to work, but we can’t allow life to get in the way of our children’s steady progression. The school my child attends offers updates online which I can login and check, most schools are offering this now. It’s not that hard to check up on your child, just take the time you would be on FB, IG, Twitter, Snap Chat or other social media and spend a few moments checking your child’s status. Think about it, there’s 1 teacher to 30+ kids, which means 60+ parents or other guardians, if the teacher has multiple class loads that number can double or triple. If the teacher is making the information available the least we as parents can do is be aware and monitor our own children. If your child knows you are checking up on them, then maybe they will remain focused. Let’s make a promise to ourselves and our children to do better this school year.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the anti-bullying message about making sure your child is nice to everyone, you’ve probably even reposted it for others to view. My challenge is forget reposting, bring that vision to life off social media and actually become active to stop bullying. Here are a few action steps: 1. Parents if you are told about your child bullying someone else don’t just think they will grow out of it or they like that person, nip it in the butt. We’ve lost too many babies to bullying in this last year. Take action, PUNISH YOUR CHILD, before the system or someone else does. So what if they are upset that you took their phone away or that they have more chores or if they lose certain PRIVILEGE. Life does not end because mom took the cell phone away. We need to teach our children RIGHTS versus PRIVILEGES. 2. If your child is the victim of bullying. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT all the steps you take to help resolve the issue. If the other parents or the school won’t take action than involve the authorities. Our children have to know that we have their backs and that it’s okay to stand up for yourself. Too often we ignore the issues until it becomes too late, don’t let too late come. 3. Schools, kids need a safe space to report bullying. Just like the D.A.R.E. program was a campaign to bring awareness to these issues in the past, let’s come up with something that can connect our kids to address these issues like D.A.R.E. did for us in the past. Now, I read a few articles that said D.A.R.E. is still in schools, but I don’t see the kids connecting so schools, administration let’s work with families and authorities to help reignite that fire. If either child, the bully or the victim has deeper issues then please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. I’d personally rather see Seeking Help posters, then any more In Remembrance.

Again school is a place you would think exempt from bullets, but it’s not. We have seen time and time again in the news about a kid shooting up a school. This topic always makes me sad, like what are we doing as a society that a child feels okay to go shoot up a school. Here are a few things I think you should share with your child, if heaven forbid, there’s an active shooter at school. 1. DO NOT ENGAGE THE SHOOTER. I don’t care if it’s 20-1, bullets don’t care about you all outnumbering the person. 2. Find a place to hide, most schools have a PA system that will announce it’s safe to come out of hiding, until then remain quiet and hidden. If you still don’t feel safe, check step 3 about only engaging with your parents and wait to hear from them. 3. Turn your cell phone to silent, instead of taking calls, if you can, quietly text. Only text your parents and give them this information, your location, who’s with you, and a description of your clothing (parents although you may want to ask about the shooter’s description in a situation like this details can get distorted your child will be able to give you the information to the 3 questions asked likely with greater detail, allow the authorities to ask the deeper questions). Do not text other students in the building, the reason, in case the shooter has gained access to their phone you don’t want to disclose your location. 4. Follow the instructions of authority figures. Once they have secured the shooter they will check the building for victims and other assailants. Follow their instruction so that they can distinguish who you are. 5. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA! Shooters have social media as well, if you’re updating your status and the shooter happens to be someone you’ve friended, you’ve given them information. The 5 suggestions are what my crew and I came up with, if you are interested in a deeper discussion I suggest you look into ALICE training, https://www.alicetraining.com/ for more tips.
Communication is key in all our relationships, let’s not be afraid to start conversations. What conversation are you having with your children before they return to school? Let’s help each other out.

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