Home > Kids > Childhood Safety > School Safety > Mom Worried About School Safety

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Mom Worried About School Safety

Family Safety Expert Advice from Gavin de Becker

Q: A girl in my son's fifth-grade class brought a knife to school because someone had been making fun of her. The principal made a recommendation for expulsion. However, there was an appeal made by the family and now the girl is back at school. Our superintendent and school board can give me no reason why a child is ever excused from expulsion. They will only say there were extenuating circumstances. No one was hurt BUT I wonder about the safety of all children in our township which until this time I believed to have zero tolerance. Should I keep pursuing this?

A: Though I am not alarmed by the school's decision, it's clear you are not satisfied with the response you've gotten. Accordingly, I'd suggest a letter to the school. Hopefully, their reply will lessen your concern. Here's a draft I put together that you can use or amend as you see fit.

Dear Superintendent:

Our son is attending your school this year. We recognize that schools face special challenges these days and we want to be certain our expectations are reasonable. If we're off base on any of these items, please let us know.

  • We expect the safety of students to be a priority;
  • We expect our son to be allowed to contact us at any time he feels the need;
  • We expect the school to inform us of anything that might have an impact on his safety or well-being;
  • We expect the school to comply with the policies of the School District;
  • We expect the school to follow all available ''supplemental screening practices'' set forth in the DOJ Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working With Children;
  • We expect the school to be a weapons-free environment;
  • While we authorize you to make decisions on our behalf about educational matters, we do not authorize you to make decisions on our behalf about life-and-death matters;
  • We are relying upon you or your designates to notify us of any threats to commit violent acts at the school. Even if our son is not specifically named, since he could be in the environment of targeted individuals, we want to be informed so we can evaluate the risks.
Please revisit for us the recent incident in which a student brought a weapon to school and was not suspended. We don't expect to disagree with your decision, but we do feel a duty to understand it.

Just as we hold you to your duty as principal, so do we ask you to hold us to ours as parents. On this point, please advise us of ways you feel we can help you develop a safer school. Knowing that you face bureaucratic, political, and budgetary challenges, there is surely something we can do to help.

We're confident that if your office and our family work together, our son will have the best possible school experience. At the same time, we want to assist you in furthering the well-being of all the students.

Sincerely, (your names)

More on: Expert Advice

Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the leading U.S. expert on the prediction and management of violence. His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Zika Virus Q&A: 4 Facts for Pregnant Women & Families
Zika virus is pretty scary. Pregnant or not, learn what steps to take to protect your family from Zika, including travel restrictions and mosquito bite prevention.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

Ommm! 5 Meditation & Mindfulness Activities for Families
Family meditation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and promote health and happiness. Learn some fun and easy mindfulness activities for kids, and set them on the path to inner peace!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks