What steps do you as a parent take to make sure your kids are safe at school?
We make her aware of her surroundings, make her aware of what’s going on. She does have a cellphone and we have Life360 on there so basically it tracks where she goes and what she’s doing. It’s a tool for us to keep track of her but she can also keep track of us, so she knows where we are at at all times. The school does drills and she’s aware of what’s going on. We don’t hide that from her. She’s going to middle school this year.
This year you have to show your ID. Then they scan it and it does a background check and all that stuff. That’s new this year.
I know they have a security officer that goes to all the schools. The kids are aware of who he is and she talks to him. They did some drills together last year. They had orientation Thursday and they go over that. I feel like we’re pretty safe here as a community as a whole. People watch out for each other.
Julia (left) and Stacy Martin
That’s a big question isn’t it. We think about it and we talk about it, “Do you want to go here? Do you feel safe here?" They do different emergency drills when they’re in school. One of them is where they lock the kids in and then they have to go to a certain spot. They have to stay calm and trust what the teachers are doing.
We're moving to New Richmond, so we’re new to the area. My son is going into middle school. I’m considering one of those light phones, where they just have the option to text or make the phone call versus having access to the internet.
I was an employee of a school district in a bigger city in Missouri. We had a lot of that concern safety wise. We collaborated with the police force in Independence. Coming here, this has more of a community feel. Getting to know people helps you feel safe. It’s a different age to grow up in.
Dominick Burr (left), Rylee Burr, Christina Caliguire and Hadley Burr
Coming to New Richmond
Our oldest is 19. He’s in college. Our youngest is 3 and we have a 10-year-old, too. We pretty much trust the school. We like that the school resource officer is there visiting with the kids on the premises. Also the security they have, you can’t get in unless you go through the front office. We raised our oldest to be more independent than most people these days. He’s smart enough to know when it’s not a good situation and react accordingly. We’ve had talks with our 10-year-old. When something doesn’t feel right, you need to be vocal, to yell and scream, like if some body tried to take you or touch you, we’ve had that conversation. If something doesn’t seem right, you need to let somebody know.
Kevin (left), Kara, Brooklynn Lunsmann
We kind of leave it up to the schools, trust in them. We know a lot of the teachers so we feel safe knowing we’re sending them to people we know, good people. That’s important. When teachers are neighbors, that’s comforting. The kids feel safe, so we feel safe.
We have kids in the elementary and middle schools in Somerset. We’re comfortable with Somerset schools. They kind of look out for each other and their friends too. We teach them to stay together outside of school. She’s going to be 11. I talk to her about using her cell phone safely and for safety reasons if something were to happen. I have a family link through Google that shows me where she is at all times. Things have changed a lot since we were kids.
JoJo Feldkamp (left), Heidi Morales, Brielle Feldkamp, Kaden Conway, Scott Conway, Charlie Conway
Mine are just starting kindergarten now. It is something I think about. My wife is an educator. We just moved here from Texas. It seems like people here are a little more neighborly in their communities, which is nice. It’s not as hot, so people actually do things in the summer. We have “meet the teacher” next week, so that’s when we’ll probably ask all that stuff.
Kevin and Lily Seaton
We ask if the kids have questions. We don’t talk about it on a daily basis, but questions come up. They want to know why school shootings happen. We really rely on the school to keep our kids safe. Amery just redid all of their front doors so you have a secure entrance, you have to buzz in and sign in at the office. So the protocol has gotten tighter. They hold active shooter training. They’ve done it where we get a text message saying, "Training going on, your kids are being bused to a different location." Sometimes they do it without telling parents and you find out later.
This is not a conversation I had with my parents. When I was my sons age, I had a paper route. We lived in town. At 11, 12 years old, I was out at 6o’clock in the morning delivering papers by myself. Now you think twice about sending an 11-year-old out at 6 in the morning to deliver papers. We know all our neighbors and we look out for each other. Having two boys close to the same age, they won’t admit it, but they know to look out for each other. If something’s going on, they’ll let us know. I think the schools are doing a really good job of being prepared. We get the mailings at the beginning of the school year letting us know what’s going on and their website’s pretty good about letting us know what resources are out there. Plus we know a lot of the officers in Amery and the teachers so that helps too.
As far as steps that we take to make sure that they’re safe, it’s twofold, is the building safe and then are they safe with the people that work with them. Where she went before, you had to enter in a pin to get into the room. Where she’s going now, Starr Elementary, everybody has to show an id to get in and it’s run through a database. Then they keep a record of your photo id and you have to have a badge. So nobody can actually get into the building without going through that database. I feel good about that. It’s definitely a different landscape than when I was a student. Our oldest is five. The school sent a three-page letter explaining all about the security stuff. It does put our minds at ease. I’m impressed with having to have an ID. There’s a whole thing about sex offenders not being able to get in. I think I would be concerned if they hadn’t sent the letter.
Rebecca and Theo Gellerman
We have a kindergartner, Zachary, and a 3-year-old, Piper. With our kindergartner, he’s starting to ask about all kinds of stuff, “Can I do this? Who can I talk to?” Like people with animals, if we’re not nearby, you don’t just go pet the dog. Unfortunately that’s when somebody could take you. I work at Kids Kove here at The Centre so I’m always around kids. You have to let them have fun but at the same time teach them to be careful. We have both of our kids in martial arts and I think that helps give them confidence. We’re both former military. Our son’s already done the summer school stuff so I think that helps. So he knows the layout of the school, where to go if there’s a fire, tornado, or whatever else. That way I also know what my kid knows. Unfortunately with cyber bullying, regular bullying, shootings and everything, you have to let them know it’s okay, that everything’s not going to be horrible. As a parent and being former military, a big thing is gun safety. Just because somebody has a gun it doesn’t mean they are going to shoot you either. Knowledge is key. There are a lot of places now that can teach kids about gun safety. Just like martial arts, teach them how to defend themselves and also when is the right time to fight. You don’t pick fights, it’s a defensive thing. Siblings should look out for one another. Her big brother looks out for her.
I think of shootings when you say that. Having the school resource officer, Officer Anderson helps for sure. I think about it all the time as a teacher. At St. Mary’s, it’s locked so you have to ring to get into the building. We train for what happens if a shooter gets in, whether we fight or just protect the kids. So I talk to my oldest kid, not my little one. I teach my 9-year-old son, if you have to, grab whatever you can and throw it at him. It’s a completely different world than when I grew up. I can’t live in fear, but it would be stupid to not be prepared, to think it can’t happen here.
Emma (left) and Vicki Derrick